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Gasperini masterminds Atalanta's historic Europa League trophy

Despite hailing from Bergamo, Lombardy, underdogs Atalanta of the Italian Serie A secured a momentous victory in the UEFA Europa League under Gian Piero Gasperini's leadership. The club, known for its renowned youth system, added a second major trophy to their record, following their 1962 - 63 Coppa Italia triumph. The historic win came on Wednesday as they defeated Bayer Leverkusen of the German Bundesliga with a score of 3-0.

Anadolu Agency SPORTS
Published May 26,2024

Italian Serie A underdogs Atalanta won a historic UEFA Europa League trophy under Gian Piero Gasperini's helm by beating German Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen 3 - 0 on Wednesday.

Despite their famed youth system, the club based in Bergamo, Lombardy, achieved their second major title after the 1962 - 63 Coppa Italia trophy.

After being relegated from Serie A and then promoted back to the top Italian football league several times, the black-and-blue club have reached new heights since Gasperini took the helm in 2016.

- Atalanta: A small-scale Italian club with big ambitions

Atalanta was founded in 1907 in Bergamo, Lombardy, by students of the Liceo Classico Paolo Sarpi High School and recognized by the Italian Football Federation in 1914.

In 1919, Atalanta won a playoff match against local rivals Bergamasca 2 - 0 that was approved by the federation to compete in the highest national league as only one club from Bergamo was allowed at that time.

Just one year later after the playoff match, both clubs merged to form Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio.

Atalanta, which bounced between Serie A and Serie B for years, won the Coppa Italia in 1963, the first major trophy in their history, beating Torino 3 - 1 in the final.

In 1988, "La Dea" saw another historic landmark by reaching the Cup Winners' Cup semifinals but were eliminated against Belgian club K.V. Mechelen 4 - 2 on aggregate. It marked the joint-best performance by a non-first division club in UEFA competition -- the other is English club Cardiff City -- as they were competing in Serie B at that time.

Atalanta's youth academy have well-deserved fame in European football.

Their youth system, which was ranked eighth in the world by a global study in 2014, trained important names including Alessandro Bastoni, Manuel Locatelli, Franck Kessie, Andrea Consigli, Giampaolo Pazzini, Riccardo Montolivo and Roberto Donadoni.

- Gasperini: The manager of promoting teams to upper league

Veteran Italian coach Gian Piero Gasperini began his professional football career in Juventus U19 in 1967, at the age of 9 then he was promoted to first team in 1977.

After leaving Juventus in 1978, he spent most of his playing career with several Serie B clubs.

He returned to his boyhood club to take the helm of the U19 team in 1994. After retiring from professional football he tried his hand at coaching.

After taking a leave from Juventus U19 in 2003, he took the helm of Serie C1 team FC Crotone to help them get promoted to Serie B, then in 2006, he joined Genoa to guide them to Serie A promotion.

In 2011, he took on his biggest challenge as a manager by taking the helm at Inter Milan but things went a little awry as he could only guide the team to a win in five matches, losing four.

Palermo knocked at his door in 2012 and appointed him manager but his first era with Rosanero ended with a 2 - 1 loss to his future club, Atalanta, in 2013.

- Leading Atalanta to new heights

After trying his luck again with Palermo and Genoa, Gasperini took the helm at Atalanta in June 2016.

Despite a rocky start to his first season with the black-and-blue club, the following season he led the team to Europe after 26 years, reaching the round of 16 of the UEFA Europa League undefeated, only to be eliminated by Borussia Dortmund 4 - 3.

In the 2018 -19 season, Atalanta qualified for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in history by finishing the Serie A third but losing the Coppa Italia final 2 - 0 to Lazio.

They shocked the football world by eliminating Spanish La Liga side Valencia 8 - 4 on aggregate to reach the quarterfinals.

Atalanta finished the 2019 - 20 season of Serie A third once more by scoring a record-breaking 98 goals.

In the 2020-21 season, Atalanta secured the third spot in the Serie A for a third time in a row and qualified for the Champions League once more but lost another Coppa Italia final, this time to Juventus 2 - 1, and lost the Champions League Round of 16 to Real Madrid with 4 - 1 aggregate.

After two seasons of early eliminations from the UEFA competitions, Atalanta bagged the 2024 UEFA Europa League trophy, the first European trophy for the club, by beating Xabi Alonso's undefeated German Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen.