AC Milan will play against Fiorentina tonight at the Stadio Artemio Franchi in what will be a very poignant occasion for Stefano Pioli.
Calciomercato.com report that March 4 is a date that Florence and all of Italian football will never forget as today marks the fifth anniversary of Davide Astori’s tragic passing, a tragedy that shook the whole of the sport.
Astori was the captain at Fiorentina when Pioli was the head coach. In fact, the current Milan boss gave him the armband during a summer training retreat in Moena, in the square in front of the fans.
The centre-back was a real leader and was always the first to show his face in difficulties, apologising to fans when results were not as expected. He was the backbone of La Viola in a period in which things didn’t exactly go well.
Then he tragically passed away five years ago to the day, leaving Pioli with a broken dressing room, but instead of crumbling the environment compacted thanks to his ability to bring everyone together. Fiorentina even managed six victories in a row after that horrible day
Pioli has often shared his memories of Astori and the legacy he left behind: “It opened my mind”, “Davide is always with me”, “That experience has also improved me as a coach”. These are just some of the memories that Pioli has wanted to share over the last five years regarding Astori’s death.
It is five years that have taken Pioli from being a little-regarded coach at national level to winning an extraordinary Scudetto with the Rossoneri last season. Davide’s initials and shirt number are tattooed on Pioli, the No.13 that Fiorentina have since retired, and tonight will carry some extra meaning for the Milan boss.