Gianpiero Gasperini admitted to having before taking charge of Atalanta’s game against Valencia.
The 62-year-old Gasperini felt unwell the day before Atalanta played at Valencia in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 and said his symptoms worsened throughout the game.
Gasperini recalled having a fever following their 4-3 victory and realised his taste had gone when he thought the celebratory champagne was water.
khong gian sach Piero Gasperini had coronavirus before their Champions League game against Valencia
‘I felt ill the day before the Valencia game, then on the afternoon of the match I felt even worse,’ Gasperini told .
‘If you look at the pictures, I did not look good on the bench. That was March 10. The two nights afterwards, I did not sleep well. I didn’t have a fever, but I felt like I did.’
Bergamo was one of the epicentres of the pandemic in Italy, and many experts have pointed to the first-leg game between Atalanta and Valencia at San Siro on February 19 as one of the key causes for the spread – as 40,000 travelled to Milan and back.
The second leg in Valencia was played without fans, but more than 35 per cent of Valencia’s team still became infected.
The first leg is said to have spread the virus as 40,000 fans travelled to Milan and back
Second leg was played without any spectators but 35% of Valencia’s team became infected
The day after the game, Gasperini lost his sense of taste as he thought celebratory champagne was water.
‘The day after, the team received food and 2008 Dom Perignon from a Michelin-star chef who is a fan of Atalanta. I tasted it and said: ‘This is water…’ The food tasted like bread. I had completely lost my sense of taste.’
A loss of the taste is now regarded as a symptom for the virus and Gasperini revealed he self isolated at Zingonia training for three-weeks before returning home.
Gasperini decided to self isolated at Zingonia training for three-weeks before returning home
He said: ‘I stayed at the Zingonia training ground for three weeks. When I did get back to my home in Turin, I always respected social distancing with my wife and children. As I never had a fever, I didn’t do the swab test, but 10 days ago the blood tests confirmed I had COVID-19.’
The prospect of entering Bergamo’s hospital – which was struggling to deal with the influx of COVID-19 patients at the time – made Gasperini fear for his life.
‘Every two minutes, an ambulance would go past, as there’s a hospital near the training ground. It sounded like a warzone. At night I would think, what will happen to me if I go into that hospital? I can’t go now, I have so much still to do…
‘It was in a way a joke with myself to lighten the mood, but on the other hand, I really did think about that. Then, on Saturday March 14, I had the toughest training session in years, an hour on the running machine, plus a 10km run. I felt strong, wonderful.’