Wednesday May 31 2017
Papu Gomez: 'Best year ever'

Alejandro 'Papu' Gomez insists ths season with Atalanta has been the 'best year of my life'.

The 29-year-old helped his team to a surprise Europa League qualification with 16 goals and 10 assists this term.

“There were very few sad moments and you can say it was the best year of my life,” Papu told Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Anxiety? Before Atalanta-Milan, at the beginning of May. We had to secure a European place and by Tuesday I already wanted the game to arrive.

"[Andrea] Conti and [Mattia] Caldara surprised me. I was surprised most by Andrea: he changed by 100%, physically and mentally. Now I see him differently, he was shy, quiet, now has security, self-confidence, and a desire to improve.

"Caldara was similar: in training I said he is strong, but he does not think so.

"The best moment was the win in Naples at the end of February. We had to play three games against Napoli, Fiorentina and Inter. I thought we would lose in Naples, win against Fiorentina and take a point at San Siro, but just the opposite happened: we won in Naples, drew at home and conceded seven goals against Inter."

The Argentine has recently received a call-up to his national side for games against Brazil and Singapore, having been denied eligibility for the Italian national team by FIFA due to rules on dual passports.

"For months I’ve heard my name talked about by Maxi Moralez and [Diego] Maradona. There are so many players, I thought that I would never had a chance.

"Azzurri? I can’t not thank Ventura and FIGC. Only one rule divided me from Italy."

Atalanta will play in the Europa League this year, but the 29-year-old will take heed from previous outings in the competition from other smaller sides.

"The examples of Sampdoria and Sassuolo are clear, we have to have to play two roles. Otherwise, between injuries and a tight squad...

"Two names for the squad? It’s difficult. Certainly there are three with the desire to come, for the left side of the pitch. I am reminded of [Leonardo] Pavoletti, that has played little in Naples. And [Josip] Ilicic, I heard, can be helpful."

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