Atalanta Bergamo coach Gian Piero Gasperini revealed on Sunday that he was suffering from Covid-19 in March, during his team's last Champions League match before the pandemic stopped competition. “The day before the match in Valencia, I was sick. The afternoon before the match, even worse. I didn't look good on the bench, ”said the Italian at the Gazzetta dello Sport.
“It was March 10. The next two nights in Zingonia (Editor's note: Atalanta training center), I slept little. I did not have a fever but I felt exhausted, as if I had 40 of fever ”, tells Gasperini, 62 years old. “An ambulance passed every two minutes. There is a hospital next door. We thought we were in a country at war. In the evening, I thought: If I go there, what will happen to me? I can't go now, I have so much to do ... I said it with a laugh, to lighten things up. But I really meant it, "said the coach.
Having no fever, Gasperini was not hospitalized and did not take a test until ten days ago, confirming that he had indeed had Covid-19. It was only four days after the match in Valencia that his condition started to improve, but he then lost his taste, one of the symptoms of the disease. A meal accompanied by a vintage Dom Pérignon sent by a starred chef seemed to him like "bread and water", he recalls.
Not opposed to a resumption of the Italian championship
Atalanta had beaten the Spanish team 4-3 for this round of 16 return behind closed doors which had enabled the club of Bergamo to pass in the quarterfinals for its first participation in the Champions League. The coronavirus was already spreading in Europe and was wreaking havoc in northern Italy, especially in Bergamo, which was one of the cities hardest hit by the pandemic.
Bergamo, in Lombardy, suffered greatly from the Covid-19 pandemic. The Atalanta vs Valencia first leg (won 4-1), which caused 40,000 Bergamo supporters to travel to Milan where the match was contested, was cited by several experts as a major source of contamination.
"Whenever I think about it, I find it absurd: the culmination of sporting happiness has coincided with the greatest plague in our city", philosopher Gasperini. The coach is not opposed to a resumption of the Italian Championship, scheduled for June 20. “Some people find it immoral to resume. I saw people singing on their balconies while in Bergamo, coffins were piled up in trucks. I didn't find it immoral, I considered it an instinctive reaction, an attempt to hold on to life, ”he explains. He even thinks that "Atalanta can help Bergamo to start again".