NEWS
Thursday March 4 2021
Saponara's letter to Astori: 'I miss your shoulder'

Spezia attacker Riccardo Saponara wrote a touching letter to his former Fiorentina teammate Davide Astori. ‘Asto, La La Land really deserved the Oscar’.

Three years have passed since Astori never came down for breakfast, when he died in his sleep from cardiac arrest in the team hotel ahead of Fiorentina’s match against Udinese on March 4, 2018.

Saponara, who in April 2018 described the heart-breaking moments after Astori’s death, has written a letter to his friend, published by Cronache di Spogliatoio. It started with their discussion about the movie La La Land.

“Ricky, did you see? La La Land won the Oscar. Who knows if it really deserves it?”

“I don’t know Asto, but as soon as it’s released in Italy, we have to watch it. And we’ll judge it without mercy, as always.”

“Okay Ricky, let’s see if it really deserved the Oscar.”

Saponara, who moved to Spezia in January, said the La La Land conversation reminds him of how he’s ‘not able to make up for lost time’.

“If I think of life that suddenly stops, leaves you breathless and breaks without asking for permission, I think about this moment,” he wrote.

“Because Davide was an interior designer, an expert in niche cinema, a cook, a lover of TV series, the classic all-rounder.

“There was nothing he didn’t know about. A football freak, but my favourite type. As he always said, he felt like a designer who became a footballer in his spare time.

“If I think of a life that leaves you without the space to make up for lost time, I think of La La Land. The film I should have watched with Asto, the film I watched alone.

“A feeling of helplessness, of deprivation. I have watched it many times over the years. It has a special meaning for me: for the relationship with the girl of the time, for the meaning of the film itself.

“For that friend to whom I had promised a judgment. Asto, yes, I can tell you: It really deserves the Oscar.”

 

“It’s been three years and I miss your shoulder. We were sitting next to each other in the dining room, and you know I often leaned on you as you do with an older brother.

“You have shown me that you are a unique person, a different leader.

“Like the time I signed with Fiorentina. The Team Manager added me in the WhatsApp group, and I was just a number in the address book of many, as it happens when you change teams.

“An anonymous +39 inside a cell phone. But no: You asked for my contact and wrote me immediately. ‘You can count on me for anything’.

“Simple words, but at that moment they made me feel less alone. We didn’t know each other, but the fright I felt when I entered a new dressing room after three years at Empoli was swept away in a second.

“You have always shown me what it meant to you to be a friend, in small daily gestures. I told you that day: ‘Look, I don’t play today’.

“You, however, stubborn, repeated to me that I would be a starter. You did it for me, I know, but in the end the coach even sent me to the stands.

“Sometimes, I read that messeage you sent me on the way to the stadium: ‘You’re doing well, you’re growing. You’re not playing today, but you’re on the right track to get back to your level. Keep it up’.”