ROME - Udinese captain Antonio Di Natale said he has questioned his own future in the game after the tragic death of former team-mate Piermario Morosini.
Morosini, 25, collapsed and died during a second division game between Livorno, where he was on loan from Udinese, and Pescara on Saturday, prompting the suspension of all Italian football at the weekend.
Di Natale, 34, said that footballers were now being asked to play too much, although he did not attribute that as a factor in Morosini’s death.
“I’m speaking for myself because I’ve been playing football for 18 years,” he added. “Playing twice a week is very difficult, Italian football is going too fast.
But I think what happened to Mario was bad luck.”
Di Natale said he was struggling to cope with Morosini’s death and had already thought about retiring — but insisted he had not made any firm decision.
“We’ll try to play the last six games for Mario. I’ll play for him and then we’ll see,” he told Radio Monte Carlo. “He was a fantastic kid who came to training with a smile. I haven’t slept for two days because it’s impossible with what’s happened.
“I’ve known him for seven years, he never let on that he didn’t have a father or mother. He always had a smile on his face and always helped everyone.
“I only found out a couple of years ago about his problems. He was a lad who wanted to live and make everyone else live. It’s not normal to die at 25. I will do whatever I can to help his sister.”
Morosini’s parents both died while he was still a teenager and his brother, who was disabled, committed suicide soon afterwards.
Now with his death, he leaves behind a disabled older sister.
Udinese have vowed to look after her now that she is left with no immediate family and have opened up a bank account in her name to which people can make donations.
“There are many players in the top two divisions who want to help this girl. Mario was very close to her and now we’ll all try to give a helping hand,” added Di Natale.
According to Udinese, she has a serious psychological disability and has spent many years being treated in a psychiatric institution in the family’s home city of Bergamo.