It was raining cats and dogs when Fiorentina played in the Serie A a match against Benevento on Sunday, 11 March 2018 in Florence. The match was a ”bigger than life” event at the football field, at least for myself. In addition to the game, a great deal of culture, tradition and Florentine community spirit was associated with it.
Fiorentina now played without its captain, Davide Astori, whose funeral was at the Santa Croce church in Florence on Thursday 8.3. He had died of a heart failure at the age of 31, which was a shock to players and football fans everywhere.
Hardly any other football club than Fiorentina could have created a more emotional and impressive event in memory of its player. The club has not got its name from flowers, “i fiori”, without reason. It’s really beautiful how Fiorentina and its fans act, without big gestures and elegantly.
“The Captain forever,” read a huge banner on the playfield, and banderols with texts “Capitano con noi” and other banners were spread along the walls of fan audiences, dedicated to Davide’s memory. The purple-red colors of Fiorentina and Florence had captured the whole view. Approximately 40,000 viewers were equipped with purple-red rain showers and scarves, and the choreography included purple flags and balloons.
Speeches were not made, only normal match announcements. The fan club of the north curve, Curva Fiesole, took care of the program. The song to Fiorentina, shared by all audience, other support songs and rhythmic applauses, a common lifting of hands to the sky where hundreds of white and purplish balloons were released, smokes burst in the colors of Fiorentina camouflaging the whole fan audience… Impossible to describe everything.
As the 13th minute was played, the players stopped playing for a short while. Like magic, out of the Curva Fieso appeared violet flags, the center of which formed the name Davide and number 13, the number of his shirt, in white and red.
The captain was still there in the middle of memorial shields, made of flags, like a cover against fatal arrows of destiny, in the hearts of the fans. As the flags began to swing, it felt as if the wind had dimmed the surface of the water, and the feeling went through the whole human crowd.