Livorno's players and thousands of supporters yesterday paid their last respects to Piermario Morosini, who died while playing for the club in a Serie B match last weekend at Pescara.
The 25-year-old's coffin was taken to Livorno's Armando Picchi stadium, where its arrival was greeted by the large crowd, many of whom had earlier laid down candles, cards, flowers and flags at the main gates. A blessing by Livorno's bishop, Simone Giusti, followed and fans were invited to place flowers and scarves on the coffin before Morosini's hearse completed a circuit of the stadium in front of packed stands. Morosini's body was then taken to his home city of Bergamo, where his funeral will take place tomorrow. A minute's silence will be held in Morosini's honour at all Italian football matches this weekend.
Livorno, whom Morosini joined on loan from Udinese in January, have said they will retire his No 25 shirt; yesterday the club's most famous former player, Igor Protti, said he had requested that a section of the Picchi be renamed in Morosini's honour.
"It was a very moving occasion and very hard to swallow for everyone, especially for the family, of course," said Protti. "Football in these past days has demonstrated a unity which in recent times there has never been. I saw our opponents' fans, like those of Pisa, come here to pay tribute to Piermario, and I saw in the eyes of players who observed the minute's silence a sense of disbelief about what has happened.
"I never knew him, but these past days I got to know him from the statements of his friends and team-mates, and he comes out as a great person."
An autopsy on Morosini proved inconclusive; a coroner later confirmed further tests were required.