Bruno Petkovic admits his Serie A experience was disappointing, but the striker hopes to make more positive memories against Atalanta with Dinamo Zagreb.
It kicks off at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT) in a group with Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk.
This is Atalanta’s all-time Champions League debut, but Petkovic is no stranger to Italian football, having played for Catania, Varese, Reggiana, Virtus Entella, Trapani, Bologna and Hellas Verona.
However, in 42 Serie A appearances, the 25-year-old Croatian failed to score a single goal.
“It is a huge difference facing Italian teams compared to here,” he confessed in a Press conference.
“I am playing well now thanks to all the hard work the Coach and his staff did for me. We can find excuses or alibis for what went wrong for me in Italy, but I can assure you that is in the past now and you’ll see a different player for Dinamo.
“With my characteristics, it’s important to be in good physical shape and in the right condition to express myself. I don’t have fond memories of facing Atalanta, as they are tough, but I’m sure we’ll make them sweat. Every player will give 150 per cent and it’s important to remain calm, because we certainly don’t lack passion.”
He faced the Orobici twice in Serie A, losing 3-2 with Bologna and most notably 5-0 at Hellas Verona in March 2018.
Petkovic was also briefly teammates with Atalanta star Papu Gomez at Catania in 2012-13.
“I remember that despite his height, he was always able to stay on his feet when tackled. He is a player with incredible technique and a different vision of the game compared to many others.
“He’s a positive person and I’ll be happy to see him again.”
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