Atalanta, a rookie in the court of the Champions


They are classified for the first time for the maximum continental competition after being the top scorer of the Serie A (77).

Atalanta has the dubious honor of being the team that has played the most times in Serie A without winning a Scudetto. Also that only Genoa has won so many Serie B titles (6). On the road to 112 years of history, his only trophy is the 1963 Italian Cup. Atalanta has experienced many things in his life, but nothing like what happened on Sunday. On the lawn of the old Atleti Azzurri d’Italia (nothing to do with Atlético, of course) his players raised a European Cup of cardboard with the club’s shield and the lustrous name of Bergamo, its epicenter. They had to go up against Sassuolo, but they ended up leaving Milan with a dash of noses, off the continental first since 2014. Gian Piero Gasperini and his boys had qualified for the Champions (3rd) for the first time. They are now the new kings of Lombardy.

And they did it thanks to their punch: 77 goals. Neither Juventus nor Napoli nor Inter, the other three teams qualified for the Champions League, have scored more goals than them in this Serie A. Most of them, 23, with the signature of Duván Zapata, who has only overcome in the scorers table the inexhaustible Fabio Quagliarella (26). Ahead of Piatek (22) and Cristiano Ronaldo (21). The Colombian battleship tip (1.90 and 90 kilos) came on loan in summer from Sampdoria for two seasons. Atalanta paid 14 million for the loan and reserved a purchase option of 12 million in 2020. If they proposed a crowdfunding in Bergamo to finance the disbursement, after its outstanding performance, few would think about it. He and his atypical dorsal ’91’ have unleashed ecstasy

But Atalanta, a team with only six born in Italy, also owes a little time to its small captain Papu Gómez (1.65 meters), who began to write his story in Serie A in the hand of Simeone, when both reconducted the course of a turbulent Catania (2010/11). Or the spiky Josip Ilicic (1.90), Slovenian nationalized Croatian. More than half of the team’s goals (and the Champions League pass) belong to them. And Zapata, of course. A template that, according to the specialized web transfermarkt, has a value of 193.95 million. The one from Milan, the team have left out of the Champions League, 530.

They will be one of the four teams in Serie A that are in the draw for the group stage of the Champions League. A rookie in the maximum competition that was separated from the Europa League by the Copenhagen in August (fell on penalties in the previous round) and had to recover from the recent defeat (May 15) in the Coppa final against Lazio (0-2). Since 2016, Gian Luigi Gasperini (Grugliasco, 1958) is the one who moves the strings of the team from the bench.

In his first episode he returned the team to Europe (Europa League) after 26 years of absence. Now, three years later, he has something else to brag about. He will do it among the greats of Europe