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Express UK / Sports

Davide Astori funeral: Italian football pays its respects to tragic Fiorentina captain

ITALIAN football stars have gathered in Florence for the funeral of Davide Astori, who died at the weekend aged 31.


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The funeral of Davide Astori has taken place in Florence

Thousands of fans lined the streets while Astori’s team mates arrived at the Santa Croce church ahead of the 10am service.

Astori was found dead in his hotel room ahead of Fiorentina’s Serie A clash with Udinese. He leaves behind long-term partner Francesca Fioretti and two-year-old daughter Vittoria.

HOW DID DAVIDE ASTORI DIE? THE CAUSE OF DEATH EXPLAINED

Fans fell silent upon the arrival of Astori's hearse before launching in chants of 'grande capitano', which translates as 'great captain'.

A banner held up by supporters read: 'Per sempre nostro capitano (forever our captain)'.

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Davide Astori's Fiorentina team mates arrive at his funeral

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Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon flew back from London to attend

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was visibly upset as was defender Giorgio Chiellini.

Both attended the service having beaten Tottenham at Wembley in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Astori’s Fiorentina team mate Milan Badelj read out a message on behalf of the club.

He said: “You are the brother or the son that everyone would have wanted to have.

“Your parents didn't make any mistake with you, not even the tiniest bit. You're not like others, you are football, the real one, the pure one of children.

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Davide Astori was Fiorentina captain

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Italian legend Francesco Totti was in Florence

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Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini and Gianluigi Buffon make their way into the service

“Our thoughts go out to your mother and your father, to your brothers, to Francesca and to Princess Vicky. You were a man with a capital M and we will tell her. You are the light for all of us.”

Fiorentina’s game, along with all others in Serie A were postponed on Sunday.

An initial autopsy has suggested the defender suffered a cardiac arrest.

Fiorentina players and staff paid tribute to their captain at the club’s Artemio Franchi stadium earlier this week.

Scarves, banners and flowers adorn fences outside the ground while the players hung up two signed Astori jerseys as well as a large photo of the defender.

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Fiorentina fans showed their support

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Dutch legend Marco van Basten also attended Davide Astori's funeral

His club have also retired their number 13 shirt in memory of the Italian international.

Cagliari, Astori's club between 2008 and 2016, have done the same in honour of their former player.

Fiorentina tweeted: "In honour of Davide Astori's memory, @CagliariCalcio and @ACFFiorentina have decided to retire the No.13 shirt."

Cagliari, having changed their Twitter handle to 'Ciao Davide', added: "To honour their memory and make indelible the memory of David Astori, @acffiorentina and @CagliariCalcio have decided to jointly withdraw the jersey with the number 13."

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