Saturday September 28 2019
Duvan Zapata: 'Exhausting Atalanta'

Duvan Zapata looks back over his career and “is not thinking about leaving” Atalanta, even if Gian Piero Gasperini’s training regime is “exhausting.”

The Orobici had their best ever season in 2018-19, finishing third in Serie A and reaching the Coppa Italia Final.

It was also the 28-year-old striker’s most prolific campaign, scoring 28 goals in 48 competitive games, along with eight assists, so he went back over his career for Tuttosport.

“I was born in Calì and lived there with my parents and sister. I wanted to become a famous football player so I could afford to buy a PlayStation. Only afterwards did I start to think about a nice car or home. At that moment, my only dream was a PlayStation.”

Duvan Zapata took quite a while to really make his mark on Serie A, arriving in 2013 at Napoli, going on to Udinese, Sampdoria and in 2018 Atalanta.

“I arrived the same summer as Gonzalo Higuain, so I knew from the start I’d only be a reserve player. It was spectacular training with him, like a continual football lesson.

“I had two good years with Udinese, aside from the quadricep injury. I spent 10 months at Samp, a difficult season because I arrived on transfer deadline day.

“I had never seen such intensive pre-season training as Gasperini’s with Atalanta. There were moments when I thought, I simply can’t do this. I can’t. I’d wait 30 seconds and then go again.”

The hard work paid off, as Atalanta shattered club records and qualified for the Champions League.

“Our only objective is to be protagonists, so we don’t name targets. My personal aim is to improve consistently and score as many goals as possible. Gasperini is a pleasure to work with, even if it’s exhausting.”

There have been reports of interest in Duvan Zapata from the likes of Manchester United, Inter and even a return to Napoli.

“I am not even thinking about the idea of leaving Atalanta. In football, as in life, you do not know what the future holds, but I have no thoughts other than doing my best for Atalanta.”

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