Gasperini Adamant Atalanta Deserve Place in History Books

Wednesday’s Europa League final should’ve been part of continental history as Atalanta were supposed to bow down against new Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen. Instead, Gian Piero Gasperini’s side made the owners of the longest undefeated European record look like a second-rate team.

Football can sometimes produce scenarios not even the best filmmakers could script. Xabi Alonso’s high-flyers were long the protagonists of one of the most exciting fairytales in European history. 

Fresh off lifting their first-ever Bundesliga title and stringing together an unprecedented 51-game unbeaten run, Leverkusen touched down in Dublin destined for success. Or so they thought.

Their rivals in the grand final had other plans. Atalanta swept the floor with the most dominant European team this season, steamrolling to a history-defining 3-0 victory. And like that, Gasperini won his first major trophy as a manager. 

The 66-year-old manager had no reason to be subtle in the post-game interview. He waxed lyrical about his overachieving Atalanta side.

I think we are in history, but the way we won was extraordinary. We repeated the performances of Liverpool and Lisbon, Sporting won their league, Liverpool were top of the Premier League when we went there, Bayer Leverkusen absolutely dominated the Bundesliga,” the Atalanta boss told Sky Sport Italia, as quoted by Gianluca Di Marzio.

I have to thank the lads, their performance was just incredible.

Atalanta hoisted their first European silverware, bringing a 61-year title drought to a halt. Gasperini’s side bettered Leverkusen in every aspect of the game as Ademola Lookman became the first player in Europa League history to notch a hat-trick in the final. 

Congratulations were in order after referee Istvan Kovacs blew the final whistle. Around 9,000 Atalanta fans who traveled to Ireland erupted into ecstatic celebrations, their journey justified by witnessing history unfold before their eyes.

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