Davide Astori: January 7, 1987 - March 4, 2018
We woke up this past Sunday to the heartbreaking news that Davide Astori tragically died from a "sudden illness" while he slept in his team hotel room during Fiorentina’s away trip to Udinese. It was a jolting reminder that the game we watch every weekend is played by human beings like ourselves; they have families, friends, and life outside of the 90 minutes that we get to enjoy them play each week. Astori is survived by his longtime partner Francesca, and two-year-old daughter Vittoria.
Fiorentina and Cagliari - where Astori spent most of his professional career - have both retired Astori’s number 13 jersey, cementing his place in Italian football memory. Astori also earned 14 appearances with the national team.
The Serie A fixtures scheduled for last Sunday were all postponed. This week, stadiums in the Serie A, as well as the Champions League and Europa League, will hold a moment of silence to honor the Fiorentina Captain.
The collective response from the soccer community was one of shock and heartache. The 31-year-old enjoyed a successful career that was defined by his good-natured approach to the game, his loyalty, and the relationships that he built with teammates, coaches and fans. Outpourings of condolence and love were displayed at the gates of the Stadio Artemio Franchi as the club and supporters grappled with the loss of their captain.
It is impossible to understand the impact of such a loss or to even come close to putting it into words. In such a dark moment though, some truly inspiring words have emerged. The global soccer community suffers together. Anyone who has dealt with sudden loss will empathize with the suffering that Astori’s family and close ones are going through now.
The message below from Astori's teammate, Riccardo Saponara, brings this moment into perspective and illuminates the life that Davide Astori lived.
"O captain, my captain. Why did you not come down to have breakfast with us all? Why did you not pick up your shoes from outside of Marco [Sportiello]'s room and then drink your orange juice, as usual?
Now they'll tell us that life goes on, that we must look forward and pick ourselves up, but what will your absence feel like? Who will arrive every morning in the cafeteria, warming up everyone with his smile?
Who will ask us about what we did the previous night and have a laugh about it? Who will nurture the youngsters and give a sense of responsibility to the veterans? Who will form the circle to work on our 'two-touch play' and who will demolish Marco on the PlayStation?
With whom will we debate about Masterchef, Florence's restaurants, TV series or games played? Who will I lean on at lunch after a tiring training session? Come on, come back. You still need to finish watching LaLaLand to analyse like you did with all new movies.
Come back to Florence, they're waiting for you to renew your contract and acknowledge all the good and the positivity that you bring to us on a daily basis. Get out of that damn room, we'll be waiting for you tomorrow at training.
In life there are people you've known forever but have never bonded with, and then there are the 'Davides', who warm to you immediately with a simple 'welcome to Florence, Ricky'.
Wherever you are now, keep on defending our goal and enlighten the right path for us from the backline.
Oh captain, my captain. Forever, my captain."
- Riccardo Saponara
Author: Nick Barron