Antonio Cassano is “very sad” over the death of Davide Astori, but insists “I still want to play” despite his own congenital heart defect.
The world of calcio is in mourning after Fiorentina’s captain was found dead in his bed on Sunday morning, with all of that day’s games cancelled.
FantAntonio had minor heart surgery in 2011 after being diagnosed with an atrial septal defect after suffering an ischemic stroke on an aeroplane while playing for Milan.
“Davide Astori is a person who was always very kind, unable to say a word out of place,” Cassano explained to Corriere della Sera.
“Someone who knew how to behave in the world. I’m upset, or even more than that, I don’t even know what to say.
“I don’t want to spout clichés, that’s never been my style.
“I’m very sad because Davide was a friend I encountered many times in the national team. A 31-year-old friend, no-one should die at that age.
“And then I also feel strange, of course, because everyone knows what happened to me in November 2011, when I played with Milan.
“Of course mine was a very different problem, something common to 30 per cent of Italians. They put in an ‘umbrella’ and problem solved.
“But of course people remember what happened to me. That’s probably why they stop me in the street and ask me: ‘did you know him?’. It already happened with the death of poor [Pierpaolo] Morosini.
“This summer it also happened with the heart issues of the former Sampdoria player [Patrik] Schick.
“I know they ask me this question to show their affection, and that’s why I respond to everyone. The question hurts me though, because I knew these lads, their passion.
“After that it hurts me because it reminds me of those moments. It’s hard for me and above all for those who love me, for my family.
“I repeat, you can’t die at the age of 31. But sadly it happened and it can happen. Even if they make the checks and they’re careful, somethings can’t be identified. They explained that carefully when it happened to me.
“The checks are always careful, at 35 I have a bit of experience with that.
“My future? I still want to play. My heart is fine, after two years my ‘umbrella’ formed flesh and that means everything is in order.
“I’ll wait for June to see if anyone wants me, really wants me. If not I’ll find another job.
“I think I’d like to be a sporting director, but I remain optimistic. Always.”