The recent news of Fiorentina captain Davide Astori’s untimely passing hit the world of football – Italian and further afield – with a complete shock, none more so than the player’s family and Viola teammates.
Tributes have poured in from all across the world, but few have been as genuinely heartfelt as Riccardo Saponara’s, who took to Instagram to say one final farewell to his captain.
“Oh captain, my captain,” the post began. “Why did you not come down to have breakfast with us all? Why did you not pick up your brand new shoe hero shoes from outside of Marco [Sportiello]’s room and then drink orange juice, as usual?
“Now they’ll tell us that life goes on, that we must look forward and pick ourselves up, but what will your absence feel like? Who will arrive every morning in the cafeteria, warming everyone with his smile? Who will ask us about what we did the previous night and have a laugh about it? Who will nurture the youngsters and give a sense of responsibility to the veterans? Who will form the circle to work on our ‘two-touch play’ and who will demolish Marco on the PlayStation?
“With whom will we debate about Masterchef, the restaurants in Florence, TV series or games played? Who will I lean on at lunch after a tiring training session?
“Come on, come back. You still need to finish watching LaLaLand to analyse like you did with all new movies.
“Come back to Florence, they’re waiting for you to renew your contract and acknowledge all the good and the positivity that you bring to us on a daily basis.
“Get out of that damn room, we’ll be waiting for you tomorrow at training. In life there are people you’ve known forever but have never bonded with, and then there are the ‘Davides’, who warm to you immediately with a simple ‘Welcome to Florence, Ricky.’
“Wherever you are now, keep on defending our goal and enlighten the right path for us from the backline.
“Oh captain, my captain. Forever, my captain.”