Monday, 15 October, 2018

Thousands gather for the funeral of Italian footballer Davide Astori

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Kayla Schwartz | 09 March, 2018, 13:22

Italian worldwide Astori passed away from a cardiac arrest, aged just 31, this past weekend and was found dead in his hotel room just hours before a scheduled match against Udinese.

"There's only one captain", fans sang as he was carried out of the church after the service.

Teammates, fans, politicians and former rivals alike came together for the service at the Basilica di Santa Croce in the heart of the Tuscan capital to remember and celebrate the life of the Italian defender and grieve his untimely passing.

He spent six years at the Sardinian club before loan spells at Roma and Fiorentina, where he was signed on a permanent basis in 2016. Astori's last coach for the national team, Gian Piero Ventura, also attended.

Following the postponement of games in Serie A on Sunday, there will be a minute's silence in tribute to Astori in all of the week's European fixtures including when AC Milan - where Astori spent most of his youth career - welcome Arsenal to the San Siro in the Europa League on Thursday.

In the aftermath of Juventus' second-half comeback against Tottenham, Chiellini dedicated the win to Astori, adding: "Not only this match, but every mind on this day". It's always in our heart.

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The defender, who played 14 times for Italy, was discovered by Fiorentina staff when he failed to show up for breakfast at the hotel in Udine.

In an Instagram tribute following Astori's death, Buffon wrote: "Your little girl, deserves to know that her father was in all respects a ideal person".

Italy global Astori captained club team Fiorentina, who retired the number 13 shirt in his honour.

"You were the best expression of an old-fashioned world, in which values such as altruism, elegance, education and respect for others, were the masters".

"Astori was a great player on and off the pitch", said Gattuso, who spend 13 years at Milan as a player.

"How can we forget your laughter, your sense of humour?" Whenever I saw him in the gym, he would ask me if he could use it.

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