ROME - Bergamo came to a virtual standstill on Thursday as thousands of mourners crowded the streets to attend the funeral of Piermario Morosini.
The Livorno midfielder died of a heart-attack at just 25 during a match at Pescara last Saturday in an event that has shaken the nation.
Around 5,000 people stood outside the San Gregorio Barbarigo church in the city where the service was being held.
Such was the interest in the service that a giant screen was set up outside the church so that mourners could follow it.
Family, friends and team-mates were among the 500 people seated inside the church while fans of the local football team Atalanta draped their club flags on the steps outside.
Those same fans chanted Morosini’s name as coaches bringing Atalanta and Udinese – Morosini was on loan at Livorno from Udinese – players to the service arrived at the church.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli, national under-21 coach Ciro Ferrara, former Italy and current Parma coach Roberto Donadoni and Italian Football federation president Giancarlo Abete were among the guests, as well as Morosini’s girlfriend Anna.
During the sevice priest don Luciano Manenti said Morosini could now join his parents, both of whom died when he was a teenager. Soon after he also lost his disabled older brother, who committed suicide.
“You came from this land and we’re people of this land,” said don Luciano. “But it would be you the first to thank those who brought you up, your mum and dad.
“Without them you would not be you and we would not be us.”
Two songs from Italian rock artist Luciano Ligabue were played during the service.