Fiorentina captain and Italy international Davide Astori died on Sunday at the age of 31.
The club said the defender died following a “sudden illness” and prosecutors have opened a routine investigation into the death.
Here, Fiorentina midfielder Riccardo Saponara pays tribute to Astori in a heartfelt post on Instagram:
Oh captain, my captain. Why did you not come down to have breakfast with us all? Why did you not pick up your shoes from outside of (goalkeeper) Marco Sportiello’s room and then drink your orange juice, as usual?
Now they will tell us that life goes on, that we must look forward and pick ourselves up, but what will your absence taste like? Who will arrive every morning in the cafeteria, warming up everyone with his smile?
Who will ask us about what we did the previous night and have a laugh about it? Who will nurture the youngsters and give a sense of responsibility to the veterans? Who will form the circle to work on our ‘two-touch play’ and who will demolish Marco on the PlayStation?
With whom will we debate about Masterchef, Florence’s restaurants, TV series or games played? Who will I lean on at lunch after a tiring training session? Come on, come back. You still need to finish watching La La Land to analyse like you did with all new movies.
Come back to Florence, they are waiting for you to renew your contract and acknowledge all the good and the positivity that you bring to us on a daily basis. Get out of that damn room, we will be waiting for you tomorrow at training.
In life there are people you’ve known forever but have never bonded with, and then there are the ‘Davides’, who warm to you immediately with a simple ‘Welcome to Florence, Ricky’.
Wherever you are now, keep on defending our goal and enlighten the right path for us from the backline. Oh captain, my captain. Forever, my captain.