Tuesday December 10 2019
Atalanta are already winners

Regardless of whether Atalanta make it to the knockout stage, La Dea already proved their Champions League was not a waste, writes Vilizar Yakimov.

Atalanta’s impressive third place finish last term earned them an historic Champions League qualification, but La Dea can write yet more history on Wednesday.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s men need to win against Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine and at the same time hope that already qualified Manchester City don’t lose against Dinamo Zagreb. At first glance, the scenario seems unlikely, but it could very well happen, as Atalanta already proved they can hold their own in the group.

While reaching the knockout stage would be an unbelievable achievement, it’s safe to say Atalanta already proved their worth in the competition regardless of the outcome of tomorrow’s game.

It’s easy to criticise Gasperini’s team, especially after their horrendous start and the 4-0 beating that they suffered against Dinamo in Zagreb. However, it’s also easy to forget that this is La Dea’s debut in the competition, which in itself is already a remarkable achievement.

In their second game, Atalanta scored their first goal, then earned their first point and eventually registered their first victory when they beat the Croats in the return leg in Milan.

The gradual growth after each game has not only earned La Dea this golden opportunity, but it has already proved that their participation in the Champions League was not a waste for Serie A.

In fact, if Atalanta reach the last 16 on Wednesday, the magnitude of their achievement would go beyond the realms of the Province of Bergamo and even Italy, as no team has managed to qualify after losing their first three games.

While dreaming never hurts, the Nerazzurri should be more than happy with what they achieved already, as the experience that Gasperini’s men have gained is already starting to show.

Ever since the point against Manchester City, the Atalanta players have seemed more confident and more composed even in tense situations and this was fully evident in their victory over Dinamo.

Some will say that experience is good, but money is better, so financially the Champions League will have a huge impact on Atalanta’s books at the end of the season. Only for reaching the group stage, La Dea already earned €15m, while their victory against Dinamo earned them an additional €2.7m.

This means that even if Atalanta finish bottom of their group, they would have earned around €20m, which might not be a huge amount for the likes of Juventus, but is a small fortune for the side from Bergamo.

Considering how intelligently this outfit has invested in recent years, this might prove to be a big boost for Italian football. Every year, Atalanta are spending a significant chunk of their budget for developing their academy, which is now among the best not only in Italy, but in Europe as well.

The global exposure that a team like Atalanta gets is also important for Serie A, as in recent years foreign fans have often associated the league only with Juventus, as the other big teams have regularly underachieved. In that regard, having a team that is not so popular outside of Italy doing well in Europe, significantly improves the image of the league.

Last but not least, let’s not forget that Atalanta might also end up in the Europa League, which would probably be a deserved outcome and will give Atalanta the chance to continue their European campaign.

Considering all this, we can conclude that regardless of the outcome on Wednesday evening, Atalanta cannot lose. Gasperini’s men have already earned their first win, valuable experience and worldwide respect for the club, while their exciting game style, investments in the youth sector and stadium infrastructure prove that Atalanta have already emerged as winners from their Champions League adventure.

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Have your say...
The real blue black team, congratulations.
on the 12th December, 2019 at 6:36am
Well done Atalanta. You've done Serie A proud. And what a manager Gasperini is. Definite candidate for the Milan job. No offence to Piolo but there's quite a few good managers lining up: Ancelotti, Pochettino, Emery, Gasperini.....
on the 12th December, 2019 at 5:16am
The revenue doesn't take into account money from the market pool which Atalanta will make at least ~20 million. Atalanta at worst will be making 40 million now that they've made Ro16 which is incredible
on the 11th December, 2019 at 11:19pm
Hopefully they stay in Europe one way or another.

The CL is possible, but unlikely, while the EL is only marginally more likely given the way the group stands.

Staying in the EL might bring less cash in, but it might be best for them as they might go far in that competition.
on the 10th December, 2019 at 11:51pm
I have been to Bergamo many times and love the place. Considering the size of the place, and the size of the club's financial muscles to attract top players, this team is doing very well indeed. Good luck to them. I like the Bergamaschi and wish them all the best. A lot of great players have gone through this club. So, their success does not surpsrise me at all.
on the 10th December, 2019 at 2:17pm

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