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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Five stars of Atalanta’s Europa League triumph

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Atalanta are celebrating a first-ever European trophy after the Italian side upset the odds to beat Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League final.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s impressive outfit has become the first Serie A side to win the competition since Parma in 1999, following a 3-0 final win at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

Having eliminated Liverpool in the quarter-finals, Le Dea ended Bayer Leverkusen’s incredible unbeaten run with a stunning performance in the decider, as Ademola Lookman helped himself to a hat-trick.

It is the crowning glory for Gasperini who has had Atalanta punching above their weight for several seasons without silverware success, before ending the club’s 61-year wait for a trophy.

Following their triumph, we’ve looked at five stars from Atalanta’s Europa League success.

Berat Djimsiti

Berat Djimsiti has been with Atalanta for every step of their wild recent ride, signing for a club whose ambitions were to avoid relegation before turning into European regulars under Gasperini.

Now 31, the Albanian centre-back captained the club to their Europa League final win after an integral role in their success, leading the competition for aerial duels won, ranking second for interceptions and fourth for clearances.

“When I first arrived, Atalanta were playing to avoid relegation,” Djimsiti said to Sky Italia.

“Bringing in Gasperini and this new philosophy, he always wants to improve players and get the best out of everyone, over the years I started to imagine we could win a trophy. Maybe not the Europa League, I had hoped for the Coppa Italia, as we came close three times.”

Berat Djimsiti leading Atalanta to the victory of the 2023/24 Europa League.

OUR CAPTAIN 🖤💙🇦🇱 pic.twitter.com/ZFqGFV0cKl

— Albanian Football (@AlbaniaFooty) May 22, 2024

A free transfer signing from FC Zurich in 2016, he has been an incredible servant to the club.

Ederson

Ederson was an unmissable presence in the final win over Leverkusen and his long list of suitors might just have grown this week. The Brazilian finds space, regains and reuses the ball so effectively in midfield, and is crucial to the relentless press of Gasperini’s side.

This season he has ranked second in Serie A for tackles and blocks while featuring among the division’s top players for passes into the final third (9th) and progressive passes
(7th). Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle and Tottenham have all been linked with the 24-year-old defensive midfielder, whose role in Atalanta’s success this season has not gone unnoticed.

Éderson among all Atalanta players this season:

🥇 Balls recovered (273)
🥇Tackles (109)
🥇 Ground duels won (200)
🥇 Duels won (256)
🥈 Fouls suffered (57)
🥉 Interceptions (65)
🥉 Dribbles completed (35)
4️⃣ Defensive actions (233)

Fantastic season! 🇧🇷#ATAB04 | #UELFinal pic.twitter.com/R0s2mADqft

— Olt Sports (@oltsport_) May 22, 2024

Teun Koopmeiners

Teun Koopmeiners has been a leading light in Atalanta’s season with 12 goals and seven assists across all competitions.

The Dutchman is comfortable in a number of midfield roles, having operated as a six, eight, and ten during his time in Bergamo.

🇳🇱 Teun Koopmeiners on his future: “I’m only happy to enjoy this title with the fans, I’m focused on celebrating”.

“Next season? I don’t know. We will see…”, told Sky.

↪️ Juventus keep considering Koopmeiners one of their priority targets for the summer. pic.twitter.com/Rb1OCwTreD

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 22, 2024

With a sweet left foot, work ethic, and set-piece threat, he has been heavily linked with a move to Liverpool since Arne Slot was confirmed as Jurgen Klopp’s replacement at Anfield.

Koopmeiners previously worked under Slot at AZ Alkmarr, where he was made captain by the new Liverpool manager.

Ademola Lookman

Ademola Lookman has taken the headlines after scoring a stunning hat-trick in the final win over Leverkusen.

The former Charlton Athletic youngster has taken his game to new heights since signing for Atalanta in 2022, with the 26-year-old having scored 30 goals across his two seasons with the Italian side.

The London-born Nigeria international bounced back from his Africa Cup of Nations disappointment earlier in the year to become the first player to score a hat-trick in a major European final since 1975.

L’Equipe have given Ademola Lookman’s Europa League final display a rare 10/10 rating ⭐

It’s only the 17th time the French newspaper have given a player a perfect score 🗞️ pic.twitter.com/oe5y2hJxLA

— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) May 23, 2024

His second and third goals at the Aviva Stadium were exceptional, the former a nutmeg on Granit Xhaka and a perfectly placed finish, before thundering in his hat-trick goal.

Atalanta boss admits he couldn’t imagine Lookman progress’

Gianluca Scamacca

Another outcast of English football who has found a home at Atalanta. Gianluca Scamacca failed to find his feet at West Ham but has thrived since returning to Italy last summer.

The 25-year-old has his 18 goals in all competitions for La Dea, including six on the club’s run to European success. Scamacca was the star of the quarter-final win over Liverpool with two goals in the first-leg at Anfield and netted again in the semi-finals against Marseille. In the final, he set up Lookman’s third goal and his impressive conclusion to the season has earned the striker a spot in the Italy squad for Euro 2024.

2023: Wins the UEFA Conference League 🏆
2024: Wins the UEFA Europa League 🏆
2025:❓🏆

Gianluca Scamacca has won back-to-back European trophies 😤 pic.twitter.com/7VrTCl8Exc

— OneFootball (@OneFootball) May 23, 2024

Read – The five players to score a hat-trick in a European final

See more – Five relegated players who will be in demand this summer

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