MILAN – Livorno players and fans gathered at the team's stadium Sunday to pay their respects, a day after midfielder Piermario Morosini collapsed and died after suffering a cardiac arrest during a Serie B match at Pescara.
The 25-year-old Morosini, who was on loan from Serie A side Udinese, collapsed in the 31st minute of the match on Saturday and tried unsuccessfully to get up several times before receiving medical attention on the field.
A defibrillator was used on the player, who also had his heart massaged, before an ambulance arrived on the field to take him to a hospital where doctors tried unsuccessfully to revive him for about 90 minutes.
The Livorno players along with thousands of fans arrived at the team's Armando Picchi stadium to lay flowers, scarves and banners under Morosini's shirt, which has been placed on the main gate.
Morosini's former teammates were in tears as they hugged each other and fans before placing a pennant on the gate. Livorno reserve goalkeeper Luca Mazzoni also revealed that Morosini's last words were, "Come on guys, let's get a result."
Morosini's body will be brought back to Livorno for fans to pay their final respects before a funeral in his hometown of Bergamo.
An autopsy will be carried out Monday, and may reveal whether a delay in the ambulance getting to Morosini could have contributed to his death.
A car belonging to traffic police blocked the ambulance's way into the stadium, creating the delay. A window had to be broken so the car could be moved, while players and officials were frantically gesturing for the ambulance to get there as quickly as possible.
"Tomorrow morning I will have the results of the internal investigation," Pescara mayor Luigi Albore Mascia said. "We will be impartial and unbending, the great flippancy of the person who left the car there is obvious.
"However, I don't want any shortcuts to be taken or that they blame this for a delay in help arriving, which there wasn't. I know that in everyone's mind the ambulance is the fastest thing that should arrive, but yesterday the first aid was that on the pitch and it was there. In this case, the ambulance was just a mode of transport."
Italian news agency ANSA reported that stewards at the stadium had told the police not to park their cars in the area and Pescara's chief of police, Carlo Maggitti, confirmed there were another two cars moved immediately before the incident.
Minutes of silence were obvserved at matches in Spain and England.
"I was shocked and left without words when I heard about Morosini's death," Manchester City and Italy striker Mario Balotelli told ANSA. "I didn't believe it, I thought it was a cruel joke.
"He was a great lad, really a golden boy. This makes me think about so many things in my life. It teaches me to appreciate life, to respect it, to live it with prudence and dignity."
Meanwhile, Livorno President Aldo Spinelli is considering setting up a life annuity for the player's sister.
Morosini was orphaned in his teens. His mother died when he was 15 and his father died two years later. His brother died shortly afterward, too. The only remaining family members are an older, disabled sister and an elderly aunt.
"Spinelli had this idea to show his personal desire and that of the club to always remain close to Piermario's family," Livorno director of football Attilio Perotti said. "We are evaluating what could be the most appropriate path to follow. We are already in contact with Udinese and also with Italian football authorities to decide what would be the best form to adopt in these cases."
The club is also considering retiring Morosini's No. 25 and Vicenza — where Morosini spent two seasons on loan from 2006 before returning for a second spell last year — has already done so.
Vicenza fans have also gathered outside the club's stadium, where they have placed banners for Morosini..
Livorno mayor Alessandro Cosimi said the council is considering collecting funds for Morosini's sister "or for footballers who need medical help."
The club Carrarese Calcio has announced it will donate a block of famous Carrara marble to Morosini's family to create a memorial of the player.