Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio S.p.A.
MANAGER: Gian Piero Gasperini
OWNER: Antonio Percassi
PRESIDENT: Antonio Percassi
CAPTAIN: Rafael Tolói
NICKNAME: La Dea (The Goddess), Gli Orobici, I Nerazzurri (The Black and Blues)
HOME GROUND: Gewiss Stadium, Bergamo
LEAGUE: SERIE A
Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio, commonly referred to as Atalanta, is a professional football club based in Bergamo, Lombardy, Italy. The club plays in Serie A, having gained promotion from Serie B in 2010–11.
Atalanta was founded in 1907 by Liceo Classico Paolo Sarpi students and is nicknamed La Dea, the Nerazzurri and the Orobici.
The club plays in blue-and-black vertically striped shirts, black shorts and black socks. The club plays its home matches at the 21,300 seat Gewiss Stadium.
In Italy, Atalanta is sometimes called Regina delle provinciali (queen of the provincial clubs) to mark the fact that the club is the most consistent among Italian clubs not based in a regional capital, having played 60 seasons in Serie A, 28 seasons in Serie B, and only one in Serie C. Atalanta has a long-standing rivalry with nearby club Brescia.
The club is also famed for its Youth Academy which has produced several notable talents who have played in the top leagues of Europe.
The club won the Coppa Italia in 1963 and reached the semi-finals of the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1988, when it was still competing in Serie B.
This is still the best ever performance by a non-first division club in a major UEFA competition (together with Cardiff City).
Atalanta also participated in four seasons of the UEFA Europa League (previously known as the UEFA Cup), reaching the quarter-finals in the 1990–91 season.
Atalanta was founded on 17 October 1907 by students of the Liceo Classico Paolo Sarpi and was named after the female athlete of the same name from Greek mythology.
Though it immediately established a football sector, it was not the first football association based in Bergamo: Football Club Bergamo was founded by Swiss emigrants in 1904, and was absorbed into another club, Bergamasca, in 1911.
The Italian Football Federation did not recognize Atalanta until 1914, and in 1919 announced that it would only allow one club from Bergamo to compete in the highest national league (then called the Prima Categoria).
As Atalanta and Bergamasca were rivals and did not come to an agreement, admission to the Prima Categoria was decided by a playoff match; Atalanta won this match 2–0.
A merger between the two clubs nevertheless occurred in 1920, forming the new club Atalanta Bergamasca di Ginnastica e Scherma 1907 (shortened to Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio) and establishing its black and blue (nerazzurri) colors.
Atalanta participated in the Seconda Divisione, the second tier, during the early 1920s. In the 1927–28 season, the club won its group and subsequently defeated Pistoiese in the playoffs to win promotion and its first second division league triumph.
The club inaugurated its current home stadium in the Borgo Santa Caterina neighborhood in 1928, and was admitted to Serie B, the second tier of the restructured Italian league, in 1929.
After almost a decade in Serie B, Atalanta achieved its first promotion to Serie A in 1937 under coach Ottavio Barbieri, though was relegated at the end of the season. The club returned to Serie A in 1940 as Serie B champions.
During the 1940s, Atalanta performed consistently in the top flight, though the league was halted between 1943 and 1945 due to World War II. Atalanta achieved a fifth-place finish in the 1947–48 Serie A under coach Ivo Fiorentini, its highest league finish until 2017.
The club earned a reputation as the provinciale terribile (terrible provincial team) during this time as a result of its successes against well-known metropolitan teams such as the Grande Torino, who won Serie A five times during the 1940s.
Atalanta achieved mid-table finishes during much of the 1950s and remained in Serie A until 1958, when it was relegated due to accusations of match fixing. These accusations were found to be false a year later, after the club returned to Serie A by winning its second Serie B title.
Atalanta won the Coppa Italia in 1963, defeating Torino 3–1 in the final thanks to a hat-trick by striker Angelo Domenghini. This was the senior team’s first (and so far only) major trophy.
During the early 1960s, the club made its debut in European competitions, among them the 1961–62 Mitropa Cup, the Coppa dell’Amicizia, and the Coppa delle Alpi.
As domestic cup winners, the club qualified for the 1963–64 European Cup Winners’ Cup, its first major UEFA competition, though was eliminated by Portuguese club Sporting CP in the first round.
The club made a few more appearances in international (though not UEFA) cups during the 1960s, though was relegated in 1969 after a decade in the top flight.
During the 1970s, the club experienced several movements between Serie A and Serie B, and fell into Serie C1 in 1981. For the first time in its history, the club would play outside the top two tiers; this was a blow that revitalized the club.
Under new management, it returned to Serie B the next season and to Serie A in 1984, where it would remain until 1987.
Atalanta reached its second Coppa Italia final in 1987, though lost 4–0 to Napoli over two legs. As Napoli also won Serie A that season and therefore qualified for the European Cup, Atalanta qualified for its second European Cup Winners’ Cup.
This was a turning point for the club. Emiliano Mondonico was appointed as coach and the club would achieve promotion after only one season in Serie B.
In the Cup Winners’ Cup, Atalanta lost its first match against Welsh club Merthyr Tydfil, but won the return fixture and went on to reach the semi-finals, where it would be eliminated 4–2 on aggregate by Belgian club Mechelen, who would eventually win the tournament.
In doing so, Atalanta achieved the best finish in a UEFA competition of a club playing outside its country’s top flight league.
With a sixth-place finish in the 1988–89 Serie A, Atalanta qualified for its first UEFA Cup, though was eliminated by Russian club Spartak Moscow in the first round.
Atalanta then finished seventh in the 1989–90 Serie A and reached the quarterfinals of the 1990–91 UEFA Cup, losing to local rivals and eventual winners Internazionale.
After several mid-table finishes, the club was relegated in 1994, though would return to Serie A in 1995. In the 1996–97 season, striker Filippo Inzaghi scored 24 league goals and became the first (and so far only) Atalanta player to be named capocannoniere (Serie A top scorer).
In the 2000s, Atalanta experienced more divisional movements. It was relegated in 2002–03 and 2004–05, but achieved promotion to Serie A after only one season in Serie B both times, winning the 2005–06 edition.
After a tumultuous 2009–10 season, the club was once again relegated. After this relegation, entrepreneur Antonio Percassi became the club’s new president, and Stefano Colantuono returned as coach.
The club won Serie B in 2011 and thus immediately returned to Serie A. Despite this success, club captain Cristiano Doni was named among the suspects in a match-fixing scandal (also known as Calcioscommesse).
Doni was handed a three-and-a-half-year ban from football and the club was docked six points in the league table. Nevertheless, the club managed to secure another year in Serie A by obtaining 52 points (46 after the six-point penalty), its highest Serie A point total at the time.
The following year, for the same reasons (after further investigation), the club was docked two points in the league, but avoided relegation upon finishing in 15th place.
In the 2013–14 season, Atalanta finished eleventh in Serie A, but struggled during the 2014–15 season. After a poor run of form which left Atalanta only three points above the relegation zone, Colantuono was sacked in March 2015.
He was replaced by Edoardo Reja, who secured Serie A safety that season, and led the club to a 13th-place finish in 2016.
Former Genoa coach Gian Piero Gasperini was appointed before the 2016–17 season. Despite initial difficulties, the club’s results steadily improved throughout the season.
Gasperini integrated players from the club’s youth sector and led the club to a fourth-place league finish with 72 points, besting its previous records and qualifying for the 2017–18 UEFA Europa League after a 26-year absence from UEFA competitions.
In the Europa League, the club reached the round of 32, losing 4–3 on aggregate to Borussia Dortmund.
In 2017–18, Atalanta finished seventh in the league, entering the qualifying rounds for 2018–19 UEFA Europa League, though was eliminated in a penalty shootout by Danish club Copenhagen.
Despite a difficult start to the 2018–19 season, Atalanta achieved many positive results and finished third in Serie A, its best ever league finish.
With this result, the club qualified for the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time in its history. Atalanta also reached the Coppa Italia final, though lost 2–0 to Lazio.
In the 2019–20 season, Atalanta lost its first three Champions League matches, but went on to qualify for the round of 16. Atalanta then defeated Spanish club Valencia in both legs of the round of 16, reaching the quarterfinals, where it would be eliminated by French champions Paris Saint-Germain.
The club also repeated its third-place finish in Serie A and achieved a second consecutive Champions League qualification, breaking several club records.
In the 2020–21 season, Atalanta reached the round of 16 in the Champions League for the second time, following an away victory over Ajax.
They later finished the 2020–21 season in third place in Serie A for the third consecutive time.