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Fans, colleagues pay tribute to Morosini

  • AP, Thursday, April 19, 2012 3:17 PM

Thousands of fans filled the streets of Bergamo Thursday for the funeral service of Piermario Morosini, the Livorno midfielder who collapsed and died after suffering cardiac arrest during a soccer match last Saturday. About 600 people packed the Church of San Gregorio Barbarigo and thousands watched on big screens outside.

Morosini's coffin was draped in his Livorno shirt as well as an Atalanta top bearing his name and the No. 8. Adorned with wreaths and flowers, it was also covered by several soccer scarves. Cleats and balls were placed next to the coffin.

A midfielder who was on loan from Udinese, the Bergamo native started out in Atalanta's youth team. The entire Atalanta squad was present at the funeral, as were Udinese players and numerous former teammates, including an emotional Sulley Muntari. Among the many soccer officials and club representatives on hand was Italian national team coach Cesare Prandelli. ''Faced with this tragedy, soccer has to ask itself questions,'' Prandelli said. ''Sports medicine and prevention in Italy are cutting-edge but it can improve.

''Piermario has done the miracle of uniting all the banners which normally in every soccer game are one against the other. He taught us that you can face life's difficulties with a smile on your face always.''

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