April 16, 2012 by Jeremy Lim | Italian Football Editor
The unfortunate passing of Piermario Morosini during the Serie B match between Pescara and Livorno on the 14th of April 2012 marked one of the saddest deaths in the world of sports. Only 25 years of age, Morosini collapsed on the pitch and was rushed to a local hospital, only to eventually be pronounced dead.
Many went as far as to say it was destiny that called the young man home, with doctors stating not even a defibrillator could have saved him from either the cardiac arrests or aneurysm that are claimed to have taken his life. Morosini’s colleagues lent their voice in chorus to praise the memory of the late player, who had lost both his parents and younger brother to tragic circumstances, yet ‘just wanted a little happiness’ and never let his troubled past prevent him from having ‘a smile on his face’.
The shaken world of Calcio duly responded to the news by sensibly postponing all of the weeks Serie A fixtures, support of that decision nobly pouring in from every corner of the league, bar Zamparini (who else). The Lega Calcio has done everything, perhaps beyond, what can be reasonably expected in the mourning of the late midfielder, but despite this, more should yet be expected in paying respect to one of the last members of the Morosini family, this time from Serie A’s top clubs.
A clue into what the likes of A.C. Milan and Juventus can do lies in Morosini’s agent’s words describing his client. “He [Morosini] was a young man who suffered so much and just wanted a little happiness. Such a polite and very sweet person always spoke quietly, but at the same time knew how to make sure he was respected.” In a period when the bid for the Scudetto is hotting up, both on the pitch and very much off it, the rest of Serie A has been given a timely reminder to rekindle its humanity and refocus its sporting values.
In one statement, too much has already been made of too little this season. Focus has been diverted onto what are in retrospect, trivial off-field matters when placed in perspective with the struggles Morosini had to endure in life, yet never uttering so much of a whimper nor losing any appetite for life.
Italy is a country that has always taken its football seriously, but a little too seriously this season round. The shenanigans of Milan and Juventus clamouring about the likes of referees, officiating standards and conspiracy theories put the morals Morosini stood for to shame, in a season that has already seen the most beautiful, and the most ugly, side of Calcio reveal itself.
Paolo Maldini, the resident Milan legend, criticized coach Massimiliano Allegri in the lead-up to last weekend’s would-be matches for again raking up Sulley Muntari’s wrongly disallowed goal almost two months back against direct competitors Juventus, the last incident in a long string of clubs firing salvos at each other that have typified the turn of the new year. That the Bianconeri tend to respond in nearly as snide a fashion does them no credit either.
The ongoing exchange of opinions between this set of Scudetto contenders highlight the once-more increasingly political nature of Italy’s league, and Morosini’s death and the bringing to light of his values should initiate a step back for the clubs to look and reflect on all they have gone too far with. If made a habit in the long run, what implications will it have on Calcio? Will officials retain the courage to referee honestly, protecting Italy’s smaller teams when correct?
A trend should not be made of a few isolated incidents; neither should it kick-start the mouths of conspiracy theorists. While Serie A clubs have every reason to stand up for their own rights, there is still a limit to what can be deemed acceptable, with little excuse to shirk obligations to exercise professionalism, responsibility and set a good example for the league’s millions of followers.
The feuds between Milan and Juventus exceed said mandate in asking for fairer treatment, and in truth are really causing the basic sporting morals of friendly competition and respect for opponents to be thrown out the window. All clubs, present and future, have to realize the damage that is being done by boardroom wars and return to winning games in the way that is known best, on the field of play.
Like Morosini, the less clubs talk about their circumstances and the more they get on with what they have to do, the better. Today, a call goes out from this writer for the rest of Serie A to exude the same sort of grace that typified a good man’s life, if his memory is to truly be honoured.
R.I.P. Piermario Morosini, 1986-2012.