Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gomez reveals the moment he recognised Atalanta could become a big club and how Gian Piero Gasperini changed their mentality. “We started this incredible journey.”
The Argentina international just turned 32 and is in the form of his life, with seven goals and 12 assists helping Atalanta to fourth place in Serie A and a spot in the Champions League quarter-finals.
“When I was young, I’d dream of joining a big club, but then I realised that along with my teammates, the coach and the club, I could make Atalanta a big club,” said Papu in an Instagram Livestream.
“From the day I set myself that target, I decided to stay. I was close to Atletico Madrid in the past, but destiny took me here from Ukraine.”
Gomez made his Serie A debut at Catania in 2010, moved to Metalist Kharkiv in 2013 and ran straight back to Italy a year later when the war broke out.
However, he fully acknowledges the Atalanta experience can be boiled down to before and after coach Gasperini’s arrival in 2016.
“Everything changed with Gasp. The previous season, we had 14-15 games without a win, but despite that, we were pretty much ok with it. Then with him, we lost a friendly tournament and he was furious. He gave us a different mentality.
“He didn’t want us to reach 40 points, secure safety from relegation and then let go. He wanted to always set new objectives and as time went on, the mentality changed for everyone, starting this incredible journey.
“My plans are to stay in Bergamo and even start my own soccer school here. Atalanta have one of the best youth academies in Europe, so I can certainly learn how to do things.”
There is one element of his game that Gomez has somewhat given up on, though.
“I got four penalties in a row wrong, so it seemed only right that I stop taking them. I am not good at spot-kicks and need more practice. Plus we’ve got Luis Muriel, who is phenomenal on penalties.”
Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £9.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/