Atalanta's way

"La Dea" was relegated to Serie B in 2010, and then Antonio Percasi returned to the club, Gianpiero Gasperini arrived six years later - today Bergamo is celebrating the first European trophy in history

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One of the creators of the great Atalanta: Gianpiero Gasperini with the Europa League trophy, Photo: Hannah McKay/Reuters
One of the creators of the great Atalanta: Gianpiero Gasperini with the Europa League trophy, Photo: Hannah McKay/Reuters
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

Frank Sinatra sang the timeless "My way", Atalanta fans at the stadium in Dublin held up the banner "A modo nostro", and the translation is roughly the same - when you do something your own way. Specific, the one admired by the world...

And, precisely Atalanta is all that - a team that, in its own way, quietly and far from the glare of the big stages, slowly grew from Serie B 14 years ago and eventually became so powerful, and at the same time fluffy, to win the European trophy, to teach lessons great Liverpool and undefeated Bayer.

A hat-trick hero Ademola Lukman, Teun Kopmeiners, Gianluka Skamaka, Charles de Quetelare and the other masters in blue and black brought to Bergamo the cup intended for the winner of the Europa League - only the second for the club that is 116 years old, and the first after six decades.

They are all heroes, but a special bow goes to two gentlemen who could not hide their tears after the Europa League final in Dublin - the creators of the best Atalanta in history.

GENIUS GRAY HEADS

One is well known throughout the world - Gianpiero Gasperini, the coach of Atalanta and the man whose style of football made the world fall in love with the team from Bergamo. The second one may have been less heard of, but it is just as important - he is Antonio Percasi, president of the club.

At a very young age he wore the jersey of his beloved club, and then at the age of 23 he decided to try his hand at entrepreneurship. He was not wrong, as the wealth he earned allowed him to take over Atalanta - twice, the last time in 2010 when "La Dea" (the goddess) were relegated to Serie B.

Although he made an express return to Serie A, Atalanta was under the radar for a long time, in the middle or lower part of the table, and then in the summer of 2016, the cosmetics magnate decided to appoint Gasperini as a coach.

GASPERINI ON THE VERGE OF QUITTING AFTER SIX MATCHES

And it seemed then that he was wrong... For the expert from Piedmont, not everything went as he expected, during the first six rounds of Serie A he lost four matches, and in Bergamo arrived undefeated Napoli with Mauricio Sarri.

"I was really on the verge of being fired at that moment," Gasperini later told "Gazeta dello Sport".

The evening before that duel, he decided to change a lot of things, to send certain experienced players to the bench, and to give a chance to some of the younger local guys like Matthias Caldara i Roberta Galjardini.

"La Dea" won 1:0 and by the end of the season reached fourth place and exit to the Europa League - the big story started.

After that, Atalanta was never in the lower part of Serie A, they played in the Champions League, and this season they touched the stars with a triumph in the Europa League final against Bayer, which no one else has managed to overcome this season.

- The Europa League with Atalanta is perhaps one of those football fairy tales that rarely happen. It gives hope, because it's not all about the Super League, big bills and budgets - said Gasperini.

FROM THE SALE OF PLAYERS 521 MILLION IN FIVE YEARS

Perkasi and Gasperini never chased big and expensive reinforcements, that was not the way of this club, but that's why they earned a lot from player transfers. According to "Tranfermarkt", as much as 521 million euros in the last five years.

Among the louder sales, they stand out Rasmus hojlund (bought for 17 million before he went to Manchester United for 64) i Kristijan Rosemary (brought for 16 million, Tottenham paid him 54), and a good deal was made with Dejan Kulusevski, Frank Kesey, Alessandro Bastoni...

And the most important thing - Atalanta always found the right replacements on which they did not spend much.

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