Tributes are pouring in after the sudden death of Italy defender and Fiorentina captain Davide Astori, aged 31.
Astori had only turned 31 in January and became a father two weeks ago to Vittoria.
He died in his sleep at a hotel in Udine, awaiting today’s planned Serie A game against Udinese.
It’s reported teammates were surprised when he didn’t arrive for breakfast, then as he didn’t answer the phone or the door, they broke it down even before waiting for hotel staff with a key.
“A great player, but even more than that, a great person…” wrote Radja Nainggolan with a picture of them celebrating together as Cagliari teammates.
“How many battles we were in together at Cagliari, then found each other again at Roma… I still can’t believe it…
“My thoughts are with his family and those close to him… RIP.”
Astori grew up in the Milan youth academy and Franco Baresi remembered him well.
“Incredulous, a tragedy, I am without words. I saw you grow up and was proud of the journey you were making. I embrace the family in this moment of pain. RIP Davide”
The official Milan website also noted Astori was "a lad in love with football."
Roma director Monchi is well aware of the emotions in these situations, having been at Sevilla when Antonio Puerta died on the pitch.
“I know the suffering, how it feels, because unfortunately I lived it with Antonio Puerta. Love to his family, friends, colleagues, Fiorentina and all of Italian football. RIP Davide Astori.”
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