According to Greek mythology, swift footed Atalanta was a woman with an unbeatable speed. Having hunted a boar and sailed with the Argonauts, she raced potential suitors for them to win her hand in marriage.
Having been tricked into matrimony by some golden apples, she and her husband were later turned into lions. Atalanta B.C. hasn’t had quite such a varied and exciting history as its namesake, but for a provincial team they’ve had some impressive results in the top flight of Italian soccer.
Atalanta aren’t one of the biggest names in Serie A, but that’s part of what makes them such an exciting team. They’ve managed to achieve some incredible finishes, and have come out better in many face offs with Serie A giants.
Which isn’t to say it’s been all clear skies for Atalanta. The moments of highs have had to contend with some fairly deep lows – including slips in the rankings, quick coaching changes, and even match fixing. However, recent years have seen them back at top form. Fans will be hoping that this time, it will stick.
- Full name of Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio, but most commonly referred to as Atalalnta, or Atalanta B.C.
- Based in Bergamo, Lombardy.
- Founded in 1907, by a local private school.
- Atalanta has two nicknames: La Dea (or The Goddess) and Gli Orobici I Nerazzurri (or The Black and Blues).
- Take their name from Atalanta, a heroine from Greek Mythology.
- Most commonly found playing in Serie A, the top flight of the Italian soccer league. However, they have also spent time relegated to Serie B.
- Play in a blue and black striped kit.
The home grounds for Atalanta is the Gewiss Stadium, located in the Borgo Santa Caterina neighborhood of Bergamo. This has been the home ground since 1928.
Before the opening of the Gewiss Stadium, Atalanta didn’t actually have a dedicated ground. They played their matches in public spaces, such as the Piazza d’Armi, and the Campo di Marte.
In 1914, they finally got their first official playing field on the Via Maglio del Lotto. It was 296 by 148 ft, and only had a seating capacity of 1000. With the outbreak of World War I, financial difficulties forced Atalanta to sell the field.
They eventually moved into the Atalanta Stadium, which hosted 14,000 spectators. When soccer gained popularity in the 1920s, Atalanta started work on the Gewiss Stadium to accommodate.
- Serie B winners, 1927-28. 1939-40, 1958-59, 1983-83, 2005-06, 2010-11.
- Serie C1 North winners, 1981-82.
- Coppa Italia Winners, 1962-63.
- Coppa Italia Runners-up, 1986-87, 1995-86, 2018-19, 2020-21.
- Serie B Runners-up, 1936-37, 1970-71, 1976-77, 1999-2000.
- UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup Semi-Finals, 1988.
- UEFA Europa League Quarter-Finals, 1990-91.
- UEFA Champions League Quarter-Finals, 2019-20.
Atalanta is a long-established club, which was first founded in 1907. Students of Liceo Classico Paolo Sarpi, a Bergamo private school, started the soccer club, and chose the name after a female athlete from Greek mythology.
However, they weren’t the only soccer club in Bergamo. Football Club Bergamo had already been founded in 1904, which was absorbed with another club to become Bergamasca in 1911.
The Italian Football Federation only allowed one soccer club from Bergamo, forcing Bergamasca and Atalanta to merge, forming the Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio that still play today.
Despite being a provincial team, Atalanta has managed to consistently achieve a high level of success in the top flight of Italian soccer. Admittedly, these highs are often followed by lows, but Atalanta has been able to leave a big mark on the world of Italian soccer.
- Established in 1907 by students of the Liceo Classico Paolo Sarpi, taking the name from Atalanta, a figure from Greek mythology.
- Recognized by the Italian Football Federation in 1914.
- Atalanta and rival team Bergamasca are forced to merge by the Italian Football Federation in 1920. Atalanta adopts the name Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio, and starts wearing black and blue, in honor of the two clubs.
- Atalanta begins competing in the Seconda Divisione during the 1920s, and eventually moves up to the top flight following a successful 1927-28 season.
- The new home grounds for Atalanta open in 1028, in the Borgo Santa Caterina neighborhood.
- The Italian soccer league is restructured, and Atalanta enters the second tier Serie B in 1929.
- Ottavio Barbieri, revolutionary Italian coach, takes Atalanta to the top flight of Italian soccer, Serie A, in 1937. They’re relegated at the end of the season, but return to Serie A again in 1940.
- Under coach Ivo Fiorentini, Atalanta performs consistently in the top flight, reaching a remarkable fifth-place finish in the 1947-48 season. They gain a reputation as the “terrible provincial team”, due to their skill at defeating bigger, metropolitan teams.
- Atalanta remains in Serie A across the 1950s, maintaining a consistent presence in the middle of the table.
- Accusations of match fixing see Atalanta relegated to Serie B in 1958. The accusations are later dropped, and Atalanta returns to Serie A, having won their second Serie B title in 1959.
- Atalanta wins the Coppa Italia in 1963, with a hat trick from Angelo Domenghini.
- After a successful decade in the top flight sees Atalanta play in numerous European leagues, they end the 60s with relegation to Serie B.
- The 1970s see Atalanta move between Serie A and Serie B, with several disappointing seasons spent in the second tier. In 1981, Atalanta falls into Serie C1, the first time they’ve ever been out of the top two tiers.
- Following the disappointment of being relegated to Serie C1, Atalanta implements coaching and management changes. They move out of Serie C1 in their first season, and are back in Serie A by 1984.
- Atalanta are Coppa Italia runners-up in 1987, qualifying for the European Cup Winners’ Cup. After a disappointing first match defeat to small Welsh team Merthyr Tydfil, they eventually reach the semi-final.
- The end of the 1980s and the start of the 1990s sees further European success for Atalanta.
- The next decade sees ups and downs for Atalanta. Relegated several times, they bounce between Serie A and Serie B, and struggle to make a mark on the top-flight. Antoni Percassi becomes the new president in 2010, and the club returns to Serie A.
- Captain Critiano Doni is named in a match-fixing scandal, and handed a three and a half year suspension. Atalanta are docked points, but avoid relegation.
- Gian Piero Gasperini is appointed as coach in 2016. Atalanta achieves their best ever league finish: third in the 2018-19 season.
Club Net Worth
Atalanta has an estimated net worth of 433 million Euros – that’s around about 508 million US dollars.
Gewiss Stadium has been the home of Atalanta since 1928. It’s located in the Borgo Santa Caterina neighborhood of Bergamo, and can seat 21,747 spectators.
The Gewiss Stadium was built specifically to house Atalanta as the sport of soccer grew in Italy. It underwent a major expansion effort after World War II.
Two stands are nicknamed in honor of Atalanta players. The Curva Nord, known as the Curva Pisani, was named in honor of 22-year-old forward Federico Pisani, who died in a car accident.
The Curva Sud, known as the Curva Morosini, is named after Piermarino Morosini, who passed away during a Serie B match between Pescara and Livorno.
Gewiss Stadium was purchased by Atalanta in 2017, making it one of the few Serie A soccer clubs to own its home stadium.
Antonio Percassi, an Italian businessman and entrepreneur, is the owner of Atalanta. With an estimated net worth of 1.3 billion dollars, he bought his shares in 2010 after a disappointing season for Atalanta.
Probably the most notable owner in Atalanta history is Ivan Ruggeri. He is the longest serving chairman, having held the position from 1994 to 2008. Having suffered a stroke in 2008 and being unable to return to work, he passed his shares on to his son, Alessandro Ruggeri.
In recent history, Duván Zapata and Papu Gómez are amongst the best Atalanta have ever had. Zapata was the second-highest scorer in Serie A in the 2018-19 season, helping boost Atalanta to their historic third place finish.
Papu Gómez, a dynamic Argentinian international, is another key figure in Atalanta’s recent success. Not only is Gómez a talented goal scorer, he’s also a player who you just want to watch. Unfortunately, he left the side after a heated argument with the coach.
Christian Vieri may not have spent most of his career at Atalanta, but he certainly made an impressive mark during the several seasons he spent on the team. He was there from 1995-96, 2006-07, and 2008-09.
It seems almost unfair to say, but perhaps some of the best players ever signed to Atalanta have been the ones who haven’t stuck around for long.
Franck Kessie, Giacoma Bonaventura, and Riccardo Montolino have all had success worldwide, having spent time at Atalanta. Atalanta have had good luck at getting them in, but as soon as they start to shine, the bigger clubs come along to poach.
Although, it does sometimes go the other way. Marten de Roon had a successful time at Atalanta, to be followed by a disappointing season with Middlesbrough, before again finding success with Atalanta.
All-Time Top Scorer
The all-time top scorer for Atalanta is Cristiano Doni. Across his career, he played for Atalanta between 1998 and 2003, and then again between 2006 and 2011.
He scored over 100 goals for Atalanta, and was known for his creativity and powerful mid-range shot. However, his career ended rather unceremoniously. In 2011, he was accused of match-fixing, and handed a three and a half year suspension.
Duván Zapata is another high scorer for Atalanta, alongside Papu Gómez, and Luis Muriel. And although he doesn’t feature in the top-scorer list, it’s worth mentioning Flippo Inzaghi.
He scored 24 goals in the 1996-97 season, and was named Capocannoniere (Serie A top scorer). So far, he’s the only Atalanta player to receive the honor. (Although Zapata got close in the 2018-19 season).
Angelo Domenghini spent time at the start of his illustrious career with Atalanta, and although he isn’t an all-time top scorer, he did manage some impressive results. Despite not being a striker, he was the top scorer of the 1963 Coppa Italia, with 5 goals, including a hat trick in the final.
Rafael Toloi is the current captain of Atalanta. A strong defender known for his anticipation and rounded style of play, he’s been with the team for several strong seasons.
Toloi took over the role from Papu Gómez. Gómez was a popular and talented choice of captain, but disagreements with management saw him transferred elsewhere.
Another noted captain from the past is Cristiano Doni, even if his tenure as captain ended with a fair amount of controversy.
Juan Musso, Francesco Rossi, and Marco Sportiello are current and recent goalkeepers for Atalanta. Pierluigi Gollini is another goalkeeper who has recently found success at Atalanta.
Rafael Toloi, Joakim Mæhle, Boško Šutalo, José Luis Palomino, Giuseppe Pezzella, Berat Djimsiti, Merih Demiral, Hans Hateboer, Davide Ghislandi, Giorgio Scalvini, and Matteo Lovato are all current or recent defenders for Atalanta.
Ginaluca Mancini is a player from Atalanta’s recent history with the potential to go down as one of Italy’s best defenders. After a slightly inauspicious start amid rumors of transfer manipulation, he eventually made his mark playing in Atalanta’s historic Serie A third-place finish. Unfortunately, he’s no longer with the team.
Under the current leadership of Gian Piero Gasperini, defense has taken a backseat. His focus is on offensive play, with defenders known for heavy pressing and fluid man-marking.
Sam Lammers, Luis Muriel, Josip Iličić, Duván Zapata, and Roberto Piccoli are current or recent strikers with Atalanta.
Although Atalanta may not have the big name strikers of some other Serie A teams, they definitely know how to make a mark. In the 2018-19 season, Atalanta scored the most goals of all the teams in the league, with only the 14th highest wage bill. This made them the best value team in Serie A.
The current manager of Atalanta is Gian Piero Gasperini. He joined the team intending to take them from a Serie B team with ambition, to a dominant Serie A team.
After a slightly rocky start that almost saw Atalanta out of the top flight, he pulled through for an impressive finish. Under his leadership, Atalanta really have had a chance to shine. He’s known for his energetic and high risk formations, with a focus on goal scoring over defending.
Past managers include Ottavio Barbieri, who took Atalanta to the top flight of Italian soccer in 1937 (although they were relegated at the end of the season). Emiliano Mondonico twice coached Atalanta, with good success both times.
Gian Piero Gasperini is the current coach at Atalanta. As a player, he moved around Serie A and Serie B, playing for teams such as Pamero and Pescara. He began his coaching career in 2003, and joined Atalanta in 2016.
Other members of the coaching staff include Massimo Biffi, who is the current goalkeeping coach, and Mauro Fumagalli.
Tullio Gritti is the current assistant coach at Atalanta. He has worked closely with head coach Gian Piero Gasperini at several Italian soccer clubs.
Jens Bangsbo is also an assistant coach at Atalanta, although he’s only there on a part-time basis. He balances this with his job working with the Center for Team Games and Health at the University of Copenhagen.
The Atalanta home kit features a classic design of black and blue vertical stripes. This has been the traditional kit since its adoption in the 1920s, with little change occurring. The thickness of the stripes has varied slightly over the years, but the black and blue has always remained.
The original kit of Atalanta featured black and white vertical stripes. However, this didn’t last long. When Atalanta merged with Bergamasca in 1920 they merged kits. Bergamasca played in white and blue, so they dropped the common white, and adopted blue and black.
The away kit of Atalanta is traditionally white, with touches of blue and black to reference the home kit. Recent designs have tended to use the blue and black around the shoulders, with a white body. Past designs have featured thin stripes on a white background.
Atalanta’s third kit follows no set pattern, and tends to change with the season.
The logo of Atalanta has undergone several redesigns over the years, although recent designs have all followed the same theme.
The profile of the Greek mythological athlete Atalanta is depicted in a white silhouette, with her hair flowing behind as if in movement. Her face is enclosed in a white ring. A bisected black and blue shield is behind her. At the top in white is the club name – Atalanta.
Below in white is the word 1907, in reference to the founding of the club.
The original logo featured blue and white stripes, and the name of the club. A 1963 redesign added the silhouette of a running girl, to represent Atalanta. Another major redesign occurred in 1984. The running figure was removed, to be replaced with the head of Atalanta.
The youth academy for Atalanta is widely regarded as one of the best around, and has a reputation of developing some of the most incredible talent across Serie A. The youth system consists of 4 men’s teams playing in separate national leagues, and 2 playing at a regional level.
The system grew in the 1950s, when Luigi Tentorio, Special Commissioner of the club at the time, felt youth players needed to be more comprehensively invested in.
He created a youth structure separate from the first team, which could focus on the players directly. In the 1990s, Atalanta president Antonio Percassi gave the youth team another boost with a new investment policy.
Many players who have emerged from the Atalanta youth system have gone to play at the highest levels of European Soccer.
- Serie B winners, 1927-28. 1939-40, 1958-59, 1983-83, 2005-06, 2010-11.
- Serie C1 North winners, 1981-82.
- Coppa Italia Winners, 1962-63.
- Since 2010, the last home match of the calendar year has been known as the “Christmas match”. They play in specially designed kits, which are auctioned to raise money for charity.
- Sometimes known as the “terrible provincial team”, due to a habit of coming along and beating the much larger teams.