Last week Italian club ACF Fiorentina was struck by tragedy when their captain 31 year-old Davide Astori was found dead in his hotel room prior to an Italian league match.
Astori was a prominent defender in Serie A and had played 14 times for Italy’s national team. An autopsy later revealed that Astori had passed away from natural causes after being struck with a sudden illness.
His death brought the Genoa and Cagliari match to halt and saw fans leave mementos and memorabilia at the gates of Fiorentina’s home stadium in Florence, Italy.
Fiorentina announced that Davide was due to sign a new contract ‘for life’ within 24 hours of the time of his death. The club have announced that they intend to honor the contract, with all proceeds going to Astori’s wife and 2-year old daughter.
While certainly a moment of mourning for all in Italian soccer, particularly other veterans like Gianluigi Buffon who made an emotional announcement upon hearing of Astori’s passing, the Fiorentina club is setting a strong precedent for how clubs should take care of players who depart in tragedy.
How Astori’s death has been handled, and revered by clubs, coaches, and peers throughout the Italian leagues leaves the world soccer culture as a whole in a better place;
Something, it’s easy to imagine, that Davide would have been happy about.