Atalanta may not be Italian champions, but they are the best team from Italy in the Champions League. There are many reasons to make them a fan favorite.
I will admit that I have had writer’s block for the last few days. There is so much football to write about that my mind was awash with fragmented ideas similar to when a peaceful snow globe is smashed on a brick wall.
A close family member asked me how the writing was going, and I drifted into my latest obsession with Italian football.
I discussed how Juventus won the Serie A title for the 9,000th straight year (really, it’s only 9). Their enigmatic coach, Maurizio Sarri, celebrated in the locker room with a champagne bottle with shaving cream on his head and an iconic cigarette in his mouth.
Then I mentioned a growing power in European football that I thought everyone knew. A provincial team that played a brand of football counter to the typical Italian pragmatic style.
On a roll, I broke the writer’s block by suggesting that this team could win the Champions League.
The club I was referring to was Atalanta.
My relative by marriage stated: “I’ve never heard of them.”
There are 12 teams left in the Champions League, and it can be argued that the Italian club from the Lombardy region is the least known by mainstream football fans.
If you don’t have a club to root for in the Champions League, then Atalanta should be your team.