By 90Min
June 06, 2019

Atalanta sealing Champions League qualification was by far the greatest story of the 2018/19 Serie A season. Not only did they secure the highest-placed finish (third) of their 112-year history, they did it by scoring the most goals of anyone in the league, with only the 14th-highest wage bill.

But how much do you know about the Bergamese Nerazzurri, and the exceptional players who got them there? 

Here are six of the names you should know.


1. Duvan Zapata

Alessandro Sabattini/GettyImages

This list could begin and end with Duzan Zapata. It won't, but it could. The Colombian international has registered 28 goals and eight assists across competitions, garnering interest from all aisles of the Premier League, and indeed the wider world.

As the second-greatest scorer in Serie A this season, Zapata was the titan that Cristiano Ronaldo thought he would be when he arrived in Italy. It would be great to see him lining up for La Dea in the Champions League, but also no surprise to see him gracing that stage in other colours. 


2. Papu Gomez

The following is courtesy of Gli Autogol, DJ Matrix, the man himself and google translate. Enjoy.


Upload the music that you do not feel. Hot. The boys and Gli Autogol. The Papu with Dj Matrix and Ricky goal, let's go, let's go with my love.


The whole band, the whole stadium and everybody dance like the Papu.

The whole band, the whole stadium and everybody dance like the Papu.


Dance like the Papu, Dance like the Papu.


Oh oh oh oh el Papu comes in and goal, goal, goal, goal, goal!

Oh oh oh oh el Papu comes in and goal, goal, goal, goal, goal!


Why Papu always wins, always have a dream in your mind all of Europe wants to conquer and with his companions to be able to succeed of the fantacalcio is the guarantee not to play gives you joy but do not forget the tradition.


Why Argentina is your heart.

Yeh, if you didn't know Atalanta's 31-year-old attacking midfielder, you do now. More than you would ever need to.


3. Marten de Roon

Emilio Andreoli/GettyImages

Ok, you might think you know Marten de Roon. Yeah, he was that guy who played for Middlesbrough in the club's solitary recent season in the Premier League. He came and went, with little fuss. What else is there to it?

But you don't know this Marten de Roon. Interestingly, while there was little fanfare surrounding the Dutchman's departure from the Riverside after his one-season sojourn into British football, he returned to Atalanta for €13.5m, €3m more than the fee he departed the Italian club for the year before. 

In any case, he has since established himself as one of Europe's greatest obstructors, coined in some corners as 'The Wavebreaker', with his destructive talents a crucial component in the otherwise free-scoring exploits of the side.


4. Timothy Castagne

VINCENZO PINTO/GettyImages

Anyone who has watched the trophy-laden adventures of Manchester City and Liverpool, along with a myriad of other winners from recent memory, will be acutely aware of the importance of full backs in the modern game. 

And this is the role that Timothy Castagne fulfils to perfection for the Goddess. With five goals and five assists across competitions, the Belgian has never been far from the action and, like so many of his contemporaries, is capable of playing further upfield if need be. 

Crucially, though, he is not in the Marcos Alonso class of defending, either.


5. Mario Pasalic

Francesco Pecoraro/GettyImages

Chelseafans, prick up your ears. Because this is ostensibly your player we're talking about here. Whether he will remain so is unclear, but for now, Mario Pasalic is due to return to Stamford Bridge at the end of June.

And, while his performances last campaign should certainly not preclude himself from a berth at the Blues, there's no way Atalanta will want to lose him without a fight, with strong reports of a stay in Bergamo, be it on loan or through their offered price for a permanent deal.

The Croatian notched eight goals and six assists from midfield, showing up in both attacking and defensive positions. He's come on leaps and bounds and, in an ideal world, he would be allowed to taste the fruits of his labour with the club's debut outing in Europe's premier cup competition.


6. Gianluca Mancini

Claudio Villa/GettyImages

Ladies and gentleman, I make no promises, but you may just be looking at the next great Italian defender. Yes, that is an exceedingly vaunted position, but I wouldn't say it if there wasn't more than an inkling of truth. 

The baby-faced centre back is certainly not the finished article as of yet, and this can be derided when you consider he is four years older than a certain Matthijs de Ligt, but he's an exception, and that doesn't mean that Mancini can't be exceptional. 

No relation to the famous Roberto, the 23-year-old also chipped in with six goals across competitions for Gian Piero Gasperini's side, five of which were spread across three-game and two-game streaks. Without a doubt one to watch next season.

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