Udinese President Giampaolo Pozzo confirms the death of Piermario Morosini was “a terrible shock, as he was with us until January.”
The midfielder was on loan at Livorno when he suffered a cardiac arrest during today’s Serie B game in Pescara.
As a sign of mourning, all Serie A, B and Lega Pro games have been called off this weekend, including tonight’s planned Udinese-Inter.
“This is one of the saddest days of my career. I learned through television that Morosini had been taken ill during the game, but did not realise it was so serious. Only an hour and a half later did we get news from the hospital that he had died,” said Pozzo in a press conference.
“It was a terrible shock. The lad had been here for about six years since we took him from the Atalanta youth system. I remember he was always a good boy, professional and serious. He had pre-season training with us, then went out on various loan spells and this year he was here until January until joining Livorno on loan.
“The news has left us shocked. When the team and Coach found out, they all made it clear they could not play. The directors of the FIGC made their own decision autonomously just 10 minutes later and it is to their credit that they took this step.
“The day is so sad and difficult that nobody would’ve had the strength to take part in this game for Udinese.
“It was the right decision and not an easy one to make so quickly. The state of mind of the team was in no way ready to step on to the field. I have heard that Inter said the same and they should be honoured for so quickly taking that step. It shows there is great humanity in sport.
“There is pain for this young man who suffered this terrible tragedy. We all cared about him and our memories are of a good, polite, diligent and very professional boy. Everyone cared about him. Losing him is such a trauma that nobody could think about football today.
“He was an integral part of the locker room until January, so was one of our players, as he only left a few months ago. He never caused any controversy, was always nice and polite to everybody.”
Pozzo was asked whether the number of these incidents in recent months, including Fabrice Muamba’s collapse during Tottenham-Bolton, meant more had to be done in screening players for heart problems.
“The prevention we put into the health and safety of these players, including training, diet and pharmaceuticals, was unable to stop it. I can only imagine it is a tragic coincidence and nothing more can be done to prevent it.”