Monday December 16 2019
'Valencia Xmas gift for Atalanta'

Atalanta owner Antonio Percassi says his club received an early “Christmas present” after they were drawn Valencia in the Champions League.

The Dea have reached the knockout stages for the first time in their history, and the patron said it was an “emotional” time for him.

“It’s emotional to be here in Nyon [for the last-16 draw],” he told Sky Sport Italia. “Being here at this level…

“Valencia are a strong team so it’ll be a very difficult challenge. They have experience.”

On the other hand, Percassi was happy to have avoided former winners like Barcelona and Bayern Munich, calling their draw a “Christmas gift”.

“The big guns have been avoided, but it’s still a delicate game. We hope to make a good impression.

“Valencia are a great Christmas gift. It was honestly the ideal opponent for us.”

A draw with Manchester City and wins against Dinamo Zagreb and Shakhtar Donetsk secured Atalanta their historic qualification, having been written off at first.

“After the 4-0 [loss] to Dinamo, only a fool would’ve imagined arriving here. We can say that this is a dream come true.”

Finally, Percassi preferred to highlight his club’s ability to keep their front three over new signings in January.

“After Christmas we will talk about the market, but our real signings were keeping [Josip] Ilicic, [Duvan] Zapata and Papu [Gomez].”

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