Italy paid tribute to late Fiorentina captain Davide Astori before losing 2-0 to Argentina in Friday’s international friendly at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.
Nonetheless, the atmosphere was tinged with emotion before the kick-off as Gli Azzurri paid tribute to Astori, who tragically passed away in his sleep on 4 March at the age of 31.
A message that read ‘Davide with us forever’ adorned Italian shirts as the national team played their first match since the player’s death. The side will wear the same strip against England in Tuesday’s friendly.
— Italy (@azzurri) March 23, 2018
Before kick-off against La Albiceleste, a minute’s silence was also observed as a sign of respect for the dearly departed central defender. In addition, the four-time World Cup winners wore the number 13 shirt during the national anthems.
Gianluigi Buffon, making his 176th appearance against the Argentines, is also said to have reversed his decision to retire partly because of Astori’s passing.
Nonetheless, in the contest the Italians succumbed to a 2-0 defeat as the South Americans largely dominated the game despite Lionel Messi not taking any part.
A goal from Ever Banega after the break as well as a strike from Manuel Lanzini later in the second stanza ensured the victory went with Argentina on the night.