Thursday February 20 2020
Pezzella: 'Pioli like a father to us'

Fiorentina captain German Pezzella expects an emotional reunion when Milan coach Stefano Pioli steps back into the Stadio Franchi. “He was like a father to us.”

The tactician helped the team through the most difficult moment in their history, the sudden death of then-captain Davide Astori in March 2018.

“Pioli was a wonderful coach for us, as far as I am concerned, he is one of the best I ever worked with,” Pezzella told Tuttosport.

“As well as teaching us about the sport, he knew how to talk to the players. He was like a father for us and we saw that more than ever after Davide’s death.

“It was an horrific moment, but we gave each other strength. He was close to us and we stood by his side too, it was the only way we managed to get through it.

“For those who were there that day and experienced it, this will always be an open wound.”

Fiorentina were in the team hotel hours before a Serie A match with Udinese when Astori was found in his room, having died overnight from an undiagnosed heart condition.

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