“O captain, my captain. Why did you not come down to have breakfast with us all? Why did you not pick up your shoes from outside of Marco’s room and then drink your 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 up 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, Florence’s restaurants, 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.

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.”

That was the moving message posted by Davide Astori’s teammate Riccardo Saponara following the sudden and tragic passing of the Italian international. The messages have poured out for Davide since the news shocked the world of football. Antonio Conte and Gianluigi Buffon described him as a “fantastic guy” and “a perfect person”, and it’s clear that he touched so many lives in such a positive way.

It is devastating that such a young man has left behind his wife and daughter, and the entire football family has been sent into a state of mourning.

Astori started his career at AC Milan’s youth team before representing Cagliari and Roma in Serie A. He was loaned to Fiorentina before signing on a permanent basis and becoming captain in 2016. He also made 14 caps for the Azzurri, scoring in the 2013 Confederations Cup third-place playoff to help them beat Uruguay.

The whole world says the same thing in these situations, but I can relate to Saponara’s message because I have experienced something similar that will be with me forever.

RIP Davide. #mmlove