Italian footballer dies age 26 after collapsing during league game

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An Italian footballer has died at the age of 26 after collapsing during a competitive fixture.

Mattia Giani, an Italian footballer who played for Castelfiorentino United, has died at the age of 26 after falling ill and being taken to hospital during an Eccellenza league game against Lanciotto Campi. Giani is believed to have suffered a cardiac arrest, succumbing at Careggi hospital in Florence during the early hours of Monday morning. A minute’s silence will be held across all games in Italy in his memory at the weekend. Giani’s career began at Empoli. He played for Gli Azzurri at both U17 and U19 level, going on to play for a litany of lower league clubs in Italy - among them were Ponsacco, Savona and Real Forte. He was an adaptable attacking talent, capable of playing on both wings and as a central attacking midfielder.

A statement on the FIGC’s official website reads: “Mattia Giani, the 26-year-old footballer from Ponte a Egola, who fell ill yesterday during the Eccellenza league game between between Lanciotto Campi and Castelfiorentino, died this morning at the Careggi hospital in Florence. In memory of him, a minute's silence will be held across all FIGC matches in all competitions scheduled from today and the entire weekend.”

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FIGC president Gabriele Gravina said: “I express my and the Italian Football Federation's deepest condolences to Mattia's family. The entire Italian football movement rallies around those who loved him, the Club, Castelfiorentino, and friends at the Tuscany Regional Committee of the Lega Nazionale Dilettanti.

“We are faced with a tragedy that has shocked everyone, which also occurred on the anniversary of the death of the late Piermario Morosini, and on the same day in which Roma footballer Evan Ndicka also fell ill. In recent years, much has been done to protect the health of members and such dramatic events remind us that prevention must always be a priority."

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