Atalanta star Josip Ilicic admits he ‘felt the impact of COVID first-hand’ and dedicated an award to ‘all those who are suffering.’
The Slovenia international received the award as part of the Premio Dardanello ceremony, representing Atalanta’s status as a beacon of hope in the sad months when Bergamo was hit harder than any other Italian region by the pandemic.
“I felt the impact of COVID first-hand,” confessed Ilicic, as contracting the illness contributed to a bout of depression that kept him out of action for three months.
“I hope we can all emerge from this situation as quickly as possible. This award is not just for me, but the whole team and all of Bergamo. We’ve all been through very difficult moments.
“I thank you from the heart for this award, which means a lot not just for me, but for all those who are suffering, and I dedicate it to them.
“It’s not right that people should live like this, especially those who are working 24 hours a day. I truly hope with my heart that all this will pass and we can return to normal life again.”
There was another blow for Atalanta last week, as the musician who wrote the anthem for Bergamo that is played before every home game since the pandemic struck – I Pooh drummer Stefano D’Orazio – died on Friday of COVID-related complications at the age of 76.
The song is called Rinascerò, Rinascerai, which means ‘I will be reborn, you will be reborn.’