London: Spanish giants Real Madrid once owned the doomed Air Algiere flight, which crashed in Mali with 116 people on board, and used it to fly their players to away games, it has been reported.
Authorities lost contact with the plane, owned by Spanish firm Swiftair, after it left Burkina Faso for Algeria on July 24 and wreckage was later found in Mali.
Footage from 2008 showed Real stars, including Raul, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Sergio Ramos, on board the plane celebrating their La Liga title win, The Mirror reported.
Real had announced the purchase of the plane amid much fanfare in 2007, naming it `La Saeta` after legendary striker Angelo Di Stefano, but the Spanish club later severed the agreement and the MD-83 aircraft became a passenger plane.
Air Algerie flight AH5017 disappeared from radar contact while flying from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Algiers, with authorities losing contact with the passenger jet around an hour after it took off from Burkina Faso.
The plane was due to land in Algiers, but never reached its destination and it has been confirmed that the missing plane has crashed in Mali.
The jet was carrying 110 passengers and six crew, including two pilots and four cabin staff, the report added.