London (AFP) – Grizzled Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini dedicated his team’s stunning Champions League win over Tottenham to Davide Astori, the 31-year-old Italian international whose funeral he will attend on Thursday.
Chiellini wept as both sides observed a minute’s silence at the start of the last-16, second leg tie at Wembley before the Italian giants went onto to recover from a goal down to win 2-1 in the night and 4-3 on aggregate.
“Tomorrow will be tough for those of us who are going to the funeral,” Chiellini told BT Sport of Astori, the Fiorentina player who was found dead from a suspected heart attack at the weekend.
“We dedicate the win to him. He is on our minds on this day. I cried many times. He was a fantastic player. It was very difficult during the match because we had to think of the game and the outcome and it’s not easy. But he’s always in our heart.”
Chiellini said that two-time winners Juventus, who have also lost two of the last three Champions League finals, made the most of their greater experience to move into the quarter-finals.
“It’s the history of Tottenham. They always created many chances to score so much, but at the end they miss always something at the end. We believe in the history.
“We saw it yesterday between Paris and Real, the history is important, with experience it is important, and tonight we used our skill and arrived at the win.”
He added: “We knew Tottenham have fantastic players, and are an amazing side, but we know they concede many chances every game. And also at the end the first half we believed it, we said keep calm and the chances would surely arrive.”