Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini reveals he had coronavirus on eve of Valencia clash and feared for his life

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Atalanta manager Gian Piero Gasperini believes he contracted coronavirus the night before his side’s Champions League clash with Valencia.

The Serie A club won the match 4-3 behind closed doors at the Mestalla to advance to the quarter-finals of the competition on March 10.

Gasperini feared for his life after falling ill with coronavirus

Getty Images – Getty

Gasperini feared for his life after falling ill with coronavirus

Gasperini, 62, revealed he lost his sense of smell, a symptom of coronavirus, after the game.

He told La Gazzetta dello Sport: “I felt ill the day before the Valencia game, then on the afternoon of the match I felt even worse.

“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.

“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.”

Gasperini admitted he feared for his life, while describing a hospital near Atalanta’s training ground as a ‘warzone’.

Valencia fans congregated outside the Mestalla for their clash against Atalanta in March

Getty – Pool

Valencia fans congregated outside the Mestalla for their clash against Atalanta in March

He said: “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.”

Earlier this month, a blood test confirmed Gasperini had contracted coronavirus.

“As I never had a fever, I didn’t do the swab test,” he explained.

“But 10 days ago the blood tests confirmed I had COVID-19. I have the antibodies. It doesn’t mean that they are now immune.”