Davide Astori: emotional scenes as Fiorentina pay tribute to their late captain.
Fiorentina say goodbye to their late captain in fine fashion.
An emotional atmosphere surrounded Stadio Artemio Franchi with the club and supporters paying a beautiful tribute to their captain. The players and staff wore shirts with his name and number emblazoned during the warm-up.
And both sets of teams observed an impeccable one minute silence prior to kick-off. Once the game was underway, Fiorentina continued to pay respect by stopping the game and holding another tribute in the 13th minute.
After resumption, Vitor Hugo then opened the scoring in the 25th minute with an incredible header, and Fiorentina immediately dedicated the goal to Astori. The scorer went over to the touchline, and held up a shirt in tribute to Astori.
It's been reported that Astori died in his sleep after suffering a heart attack in the team hotel as they prepared to face Udinese in a Serie A encounter. All games were postponed as a result that weekend.
The centre-back joined La Viola in 2016, having previously enjoyed spells with AC Milan, Cagliari and Roma. Astori also represented the Italian national team on 14 occasions. In a statement, UEFA's Vieri Capretta praised the personality and leadership skills the defender possessed.
The best spell of Astori's career came during a six-year stay with Cagliari, where he established himself as one of Serie A's most potent centre-backs. The Italian international was a graceful defender, who boasted a rich understanding of the game. In possession, Astori was renowned for his ability to distribute with precision.
In the 2017-18 Serie A campaign, he had made 25 appearances and scored one goal for Fiorentina, who were 10th on the table before his passing.
The match ended with just the lone goal scored by Hugo, and Fiorentina went into 9th place on the standings as a result. The game was a fitting homage to the late captain.