Fiorentina captain Astori goes home

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

Astori will be buried on Friday in his birthplace of San Pellegrino Terme near Bergamo in northern Italy.

The funeral at the Basilica di Santa Croce was attended by family, friends, players and official representatives of Italian football, with members of the public gathered outside.

The hearse carrying Astori's body was greeted by loud applause and shouts of his name and "grande capitano", meaning great captain.

Milan Badelj, Astori's deputy captain at the club, paid tribute to the player in a homily.

The funeral was held in Florence's Basilica of the Holy Cross, but the crowd was much too large to fit inside the church, so the audio of the service was broadcast to the fans, many of them crying, who filled the square outside. "Thank you Davide, you our are light, you are the pure football of children, the son and brother we would all like to have", the letter said. Your mother, your father must know that they did not make a mistake with you. He said everyone who remembered Astori would tell his two-year daughter Vittoria that he had been a man with a capital "M". Behold, you are the light for us.

A moment of the funeral ceremony of Italian player Davide Astori in Florence, Italy, Thursday, March 8, 2018. As the coffin left the church, the fans sang "there's only one captain, there's only one captain".

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Chiellini, Claudio Marchisio, Daniele Rugani, Mattia De Sciglio, Miralem Pjanic and coach Massimiliano Allegri arriving on a charter flight from London following Juventus' victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Davide Astori was honoured by Fiorentina at his Funeral today.

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

The defender made 109 appearances for the Viola before his death and was also capped 14 times by Italy.

Astori began his career in the Milan youth academy but never played a senior match for the Rossoneri, making his Serie A debut with Cagliari in 2008.

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.

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