Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini revealed that he was close to taking over the Italian national team job, shortly before Giampiero Ventura was appointed. Speaking in a lengthy interview with Radio Serie A, Gasperini touched on a number of topics, starting from his history with La Dea:
“My history with Atalanta is wonderful and I hope it lasts for a long time: I hoped it would last this long, considering the great results. They are among the longest-lived in Italy, aided by having found a truly consolidated environment. We age, but not the spirit. 500 points are a lot at a club where, in 116 years, it was rare to exceed 50 points .”
“As soon as he arrived in 2016 there were a lot of young people who didn’t play: Caldara, Gagliardini, Bastoni, Kessié. Then there was the evolution, someone like Toloi for example remained for a long time, I say De Roon who also is a bandiera.
“The best moment? With PSG certainly where we were two minutes from the Champions League semi-final.”
“Ilicic and Gomez? Josip got sick here. He started to have symptoms, and then from there he completely isolated himself. Despite the depression we were always close to him. Before the match against PSG I went to visit him in the clinic, he had lost 12 kilos, I even lifted him like a dummy. Papu? I’m sorry for what happened to him, although doping requires strict controls, but it can also happen involuntarily. He left in Bergamo without saying goodbye through no fault of his own.”
“The national team? Lippi contacted me, then Ventura went . Today, coaching the national teams becomes quite difficult, I’m more of a club coach. Coaching Juve? It happened when I coached Genoa, then after that there was no direct contact. I’ve always been under contract then I feel good in Bergamo.”
“Am I dictator? It’s media stuff, telling things in an inaccurate way . Communication is very lacking: now everything from social media to TV is noise and little substance. I don’t want serious things, but intellectual honesty “.