Federico Chiesa has revealed how Davide Astori lifted Fiorentina with his ‘energy’ and ‘united us all like a true captain does’.
Fiorentina tragically lost Astori to cardiac arrest last month, at a time of discontent among Viola fans with what they perceived to be a lack of interest from the club’s owners, but they have gone on to win six of their nine games without the defender.
“Until the death of Astori, we were a good young team, but we didn’t have that experience,” Chiesa told the Times.
“But now we have this strength inside us that is coming out. I don’t know how to explain it, but we have something more inside.
“As we train, and even as we eat together, there is some energy around us. I’ve never seen death from so close up before.
“In the week that it happened, nobody wanted to go back home after training. We were a young team without experience, and he was the guy with the experience, 10 seasons in Serie A.
“He was our centre point: if anyone had a problem in the dressing room, on the pitch, with the coach, he was our point of reference.
“My Italy debut? This experience also goes to him because he helped me. Before he died, there was discontent between the fans and Fiorentina, and like a true captain does, he has united us all. He was our captain, and he still is our captain.”
The 20-year-old then discussed what life was like as the son of former Viola and Italy striker Enrico Chiesa.
“From when I was 13 until I was 17, I was very skinny, not very tall, so the Coaches used to prefer big, tough guys and I used to watch them play on Sundays,” he continued.
“My father always said to me, ‘Your game is the training [session].’ Last year, in the last match of the season against Pescara, I got a red card within 30 minutes of play, and my dad didn’t speak to me for three days.”
So how did Enrico react to the forward scoring his first professional goal against Qarabag in the Europa League last season?
“[He] screamed down the phone with joy!”
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