Wed, Mar 07, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Authorities probing death of ACF Fiorentina’s Astori

AFP, ROME

An autopsy of ACF Fiorentina captain Davide Astori was to be carried out yesterday, while his funeral is to be held in Florence tomorrow, the Italian soccer club announced on Monday.

Italy was in shock following the sudden death on Sunday of the 31-year-old defender, who represented his country 14 times.

“Fiorentina and Davide’s family inform you that the autopsy will be performed tomorrow... The funeral will take place on Thursday in the Santa Croce basilica,” the Serie A club said on Twitter.

A judicial inquiry has been launched following the death of Astori, who was found dead in his hotel room in Udine, where his team was due to play Udinese on Sunday.

“We have opened a manslaughter investigation, against X for the moment,” Udine magistrate Antonio de Nicolo told Rai radio on Monday, adding that such a procedure was “mandatory.”

De Nicolo was on Sunday quoted as saying that Astori died of “natural causes” after a “cardiac circulatory collapse” — a type of heart attack.

Meanwhile, Fiorentina have called for respect and silence after it was erroneously reported they had extended Astori’s contract with them.

Giovanni Malago, president of the Italian Olympic Committee, which oversees Italian top-flight and international soccer, “spoke too soon,” said a source very close to those concerned.

All seven Serie A matches on Sunday were postponed following the news of Astori’s death.

European games in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League are to all be preceded by a minute’s silence in midweek.

Florence Mayor Dario Nardella said the city would observe a day of mourning for the player’s funeral.

Former Italy coach Antonio Conte and World Cup winner Gianluigi Buffon paid emotional tributes to Astori, describing their Italian compatriot as “fantastic” and “a great guy.”

Chelsea manager Conte, who coached the defender when he was in charge of Italy, said the player’s death was a “tragedy.”

“This is a tragedy and it really hurts me. It’s very difficult at this moment to find the right words for the family,” Conte told Sky Sports on Sunday ahead of his side’s 1-0 loss to Manchester City.

Juventus captain Buffon called Astori “a great man.”

Buffon, who wrote in a post on Instagram accompanied by a photograph of the two players exchanging pennants before a game between their clubs, said he did not usually make a habit of expressing his feelings about others.

“I want to make an exception to my rule, because you have a young wife and others close to you who are suffering, but mostly because your little girl deserves to know that her dad was a good man... A great man,” Buffon said of Astori, who is survived by his wife and two-year-old daughter.

Astori began his career at AC Milan, also playing for Cagliari and AS Roma before joining Fiorentina in 2015.

He made his international debut under coach Cesare Prandelli in March 2011 as a first-half substitute in a 2-0 victory over Ukraine in Kiev before getting sent off with 17 minutes remaining.

Astori scored his only international goal in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup third-place playoff against Uruguay, giving Italy a first-half lead in a match that finished 2-2. Italy went on to win on penalties.

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