Saturday August 1 2020
Ilicic leaves Atalanta camp

Josip Ilicic has reportedly returned to Slovenia to deal with a personal matter and will not participate in Atalanta’s Champions League campaign.

La Gazzetta dello Sport first suggested on Friday morning that the player had flown to Slovenia to be with family, then Sky Sport Italia dug into the situation and provided a few more details.

All the Italian media are prepared to say is that this is a difficult time for Ilicic and he is not in the right mind-set to think about football right now.

La Repubblica and La Gazzetta dello Sport hint that Ilicic is suffering from depression.

Coach Gian Piero Gasperini had said this week “the more time passes, the more unlikely it is we’ll see Ilicic” play against Paris Saint-Germain on August 12.

He had scored 21 goals in 34 competitive games this season, providing nine assists, including five goals in seven Champions League appearances.

Following the lockdown and the COVID-19 crisis in Bergamo, Ilicic had an ankle issue, playing only portions of five Serie A games in June and July.

From July 14, he was left out of the squad, officially to focus on regaining his fitness levels going into the Champions League Final Eight.

It now seems that was a cover story created to distract from issues that have nothing to do with football.

Ilicic confessed he had feared he’d have to retire in the summer of 2018 when he was hospitalised with a mystery illness, at the time reported to be an anomalous and recurring infection.

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