Emotional farewell for footballer Morosini

Story highlights

  • Thousands of mourners line streets of Morosini's hometown Bergamo for funeral
  • Italy's national soccer coach is among those who attend church service
  • The previous day thousands of fans fill Picchi Stadium in Livorno for memorial ceremony
  • Morosini's death has raised questions about emergency procedures on the pitch

Thousands of mourners descended on a suburban church in northern Italy on Thursday for the funeral of footballer Piermario Morosini, who died after collapsing on the pitch last week.

Mourners lined the streets of Bergamo to see the 25-year-old Livorno player finally laid to rest in his hometown at the Church of San Gregorio.

The midfielder's coffin was draped in his Livorno shirt as well as an Atalanta top bearing his name and the No. 8. Priest Luciano Manenti looked on as the coffin, adorned with wreaths and flowers, was carried from the church into a hearse.

Morosini, who was on loan from Udinese, started out in Atalanta's youth team.

Among the mourners were his longtime girlfriend Anna Vavassori, Italian soccer federation president Giancarlo Abete and national team coach Cesare Prandelli.

"Soccer must pose itself questions following this tragedy," Prandelli said after the funeral, according to Italian news agency Ansa.

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"Sporting medicine and prevention are state of the art in Italy, but it's possible to improve."

Morosini's life had been blighted by tragedy with the loss of both his parents before his 18th birthday.

His disabled brother later committed suicide, leaving him alone with his handicapped elder sister Maria Carla.

The funeral followed a packed memorial ceremony at Livorno's Armando Picchi Stadium the previous day. Thousands of mourners filled the stands to pay tribute as a hearse carrying Morosini's coffin did a lap of the ground.

Livorno's president Aldo Spinelli struggled to hold back tears as he saluted the player.

Morosini died last Saturday after collapsing on the pitch during his side's Serie B game at Pescara.

Initially it was thought Morosini had suffered a cardiac arrest but a post mortem on Monday proved inconclusive.

The entire Italian football program that weekend was canceled and a minute's silence was observed at major league games around the world in his honor.

Morosini's death has raised questions about the procedures in place at Italian stadiums to deal with an emergency of the type that cost him his life.

Prosecutors are investigating whether a badly parked police car delayed the arrival of paramedics on the scene.

Udinese has set up a fund for Maria Carla, who relied on her brother for financial support.

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