Italian football is mourning the death of UC Sampdoria president Riccardo Garrone, who passed away on Monday evening after a long illness.
Garrone, an oil magnate and father of six who would have turned 77 on Wednesday, bought Sampdoria in 2002 when the Blucerchiati were in Serie B and immediately oversaw the Genoa-based club's return to the top flight. A statement on their website said: "Gentleman, husband, father, grandfather, industrialist, sports manager.
"We just want to remember him under the Curva Sud with a scarf around his neck, with his arms to the sky. As Sampdoria fans, we want to remember and thank him."
One-time Italian champions Sampdoria finished fourth in Serie A in 2009/10, qualifying for the UEFA Champions League play-offs, where they lost to SV Werder Bremen after extra time. "Today is one of the saddest days of my life," said FC Internazionale Milano forward Antonio Cassano, a key member of that team. "He'll be forever in my heart and I'll always remember him."
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