Former Fiorentina captain Davide Astori's funeral

The Fiorentina captain Astori died in his sleep at the team hotel ahead of a Serie A clash on Sunday with Udinese

The Fiorentina captain Astori died in his sleep at the team hotel ahead of a Serie A clash on Sunday with Udinese

The Fiorentina captain was found dead in his hotel room just hours before his side's Serie A clash against Udinese.

An autopsy revealed that Astori died of a cardiac arrest by natural causes, but Paris Saint-Germain full-back Alves caused controversy with his comments regarding the incident in a press conference on Monday.

Thousands of fans sang chants, lit flares, and joined famous football professionals like Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri, and former Italy striker Filippo Inzaghi in paying their respects throughout the funeral service at the Santa Croce basilica in Florence, Italy on March 8.

He spent six years at the Sardinian club before loan spells at Roma and Fiorentina, where he was signed on a permanent basis in 2016. Chants of "c'รจ solo un capitano", "There's only one captain", echoed in emotional scenes as Astori's coffin was placed into the back of the funeral vehicle. Astori's last coach for the national team, Gian Piero Ventura, also attended.

There will also be a minute's silence before kick-off in all this weekend's Serie A and B games.

These comments riled Balotelli, who played alongside Astori on the worldwide stage with Italy, as he took to a live stream on Instagram to air his thoughts. "We dedicate this win to him but not only this match". I cry many times, I always believe in him because he was a fantastic player.

"Football is the most handsome game in the world and sadly we don't always think that". It's always in our heart.

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"It's hard but we have to continue our lives. I just hope one thing: that we can carry on what Davide was for us, and that smile he had every day".

Georgio Chiellini paid a powerful tribute to his former Italy teammate and friend Davide Astori last night, writes Stephen Barry.

"You're the best team-mate a guy can dream of having".

Astori is survived by his partner Francesca Fioretti, and their two-year-old daughter. "He is a great example for all young men".

"How can we forget your laughter, your sense of humour?"

"I was at Milan when he was in the youth teams". Before the match, he said he was proud and happy for me and my new adventure with Milan.

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