The “seven sisters,” Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Lazio, AS Roma, Parma, and Fiorentina, helped to shape Italian soccer in the 1990s. These clubs had a dynamite run during those years, winning every competition both inside and outside of Italy. There are two new important clubs that need to be mentioned today when we talk about Serie A (watch live on Paramount+). Twenty years ago, Parma and Fiorentina had some problems. There is Napoli, of course, who appears poised to win their first Scudetto in 33 years. Then there is Atalanta, the tiny Bergamo squad that has terrorized Champions League opponents and generated so many high-octane attacks that they have become must-see television. The team’s fortunes improved after Italian billionaire Antonio Percassi, a former club player, opted to buy them in 2010. More lately, there has been a major American influence. Their fortunes improved despite the fact that they had no history of winning championships and had no aspirations to become one of the soccer giants of Europe.
Everything for the team, which was headquartered in northern Italy and was only a one-hour drive from Milan, altered at that point. Up until the 2016 appointment of the current manager, Gian Piero Gasperini, Atalanta started from scratch and battled for a while. Based on talented young players from the academy and excellent scouting by the club administrators during the previous years, the former Genoa coach developed one of the most intriguing projects in Italian soccer. Atalanta entered the soccer Champions League three times in recent years as a result of how well it operated. including when they suffered a defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the 2019–20 season. Even before the previous season, Atlanta had three consecutive third-place finishes in the league, and the 2019–20 campaign saw them score an astounding 98 goals in the league. For comparison, this season the great Napoli reported that they average 2.3 goals per league game. Last season they averaged 2.57 goals per league game.
Several people outside of the country took notice of this phenomenal expansion, and in February 2022 American businessman and co-owner of the Boston Celtics Stevphen Pagliuca bought a 55% ownership in the team alongside other investors. Pagliuca, who was appointed co-chairman of the club,.
He told Matteo Bonetti, “The Percassi family is a significant reason why we got interested in Atalanta. “They were wanting to really establish the team and build a global brand, and we’ve done that here with the Celtics. We met them through a partner of mine in Italy, Luca Bassi, and really hit it off. I’m also of Italian descent. My paternal grandparents are from Muro Lucano, which is close to Avellino. The thing is, as soon as I stepped off the airport, Bergamo felt like home. The locals are amazing, and the football team is the center of town life.”
The youth market is undoubtedly one of Atlanta’s success factors. Alessandro Bastoni of Inter Milan, Franck Kessie of FC Barcelona, Dejan Kulusevski of Tottenham, and Amad Diallo of Manchester United, to name a few, are just a handful of the top players to have come out of the club’s academy since Percassi took over as manager.
The wonderful job the Percassis have done with their academy has been “the key to Atalanta,” according to Pagliuca. “There are around 400 boys in the program from six to 16 and they have many people on the national team. Thus, putting money into the academy is vitally essential for a minor community like that. That has been a tremendous asset. Also, they had an excellent worldwide scouting department, which is how you can see guys we recruited like Rasmus Hjlund and Ademola Lookman. So, we believe that we can compete with anyone, and that our success will attract more sponsors. We are also now refurbishing the stadium. We’ve already finished one end, inserting the expensive boxes. So, there are numerous things that can be done to elevate it to the top tier, but it already has a terrific squad and city.
Why should I buy Atlanta?
the Boston Celtics’ assistance to La Dea?
establishing a club that blends into the neighborhood.
Matteo @Bonetti is caught up with by Stephen Pagliuca, a co-owner of Atlanta.
The most surprising arrivals from the previous summer are Hjlund and Lookman. The 20-year-old Danish striker impressed many with his seven goals in 22 games after moving for €25 million from Sturm Graz. Lookman cost €15 million to transfer from RB Leipzig to Atalanta, where he scored 14 goals in 25 games across all competitions.
Lookman is incredibly intelligent and motivated, Pagliuca remarked. “During [a recent session], I got there at six o’clock at night, and while everyone else shuffled into the locker room, Lookman remained outside. He works hard because it was becoming dark, it was cold, and he was practicing penalty kicks. Hjlund is merely a physical example, but Hjlund is as well. I was amazed he was 19 when I first saw him in Sturm Graz since he was bigger than even the NBA stars we have in this country. Our reconnaissance team did an excellent job of identifying him; he is six feet four, lightning quick, and left-footed, and we really wanted him to come.”
Strangely enough, Hjlund’s mother is a die-hard Celtics supporter, so Pagliuca seized the chance to entice her son to join their team.
“I went with Luca (Percassi’s son) and Lee (Congerton, head of senior recruitment), and by chance, as we sat down, his mother started talking about her background and how she had also been a fantastic football player as well as a soccer player. It turns out that she played in Nashville, New Hampshire, where she had a large social circle and the Celtics were having a successful period at the time “explained Pagliuca. “Well, we received a portion of the shipment. As soon as the season is done, we will take them to courtside Celtics seats.”
Atalanta will take the field again on Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET versus Empoli in a live broadcast on Paramount+.