In four in and half years of service to Atalanta, German Denis became a modern club legend. After 152 matches and 55 goals for the Orobici, Denis signed off as the club’s all-time leading foreign goal scorer.
As he set to bid arrivederci to the club on Saturday night, Denis provided Atalanta supporters with one last moment to remember him by, as he slotted home an 82nd minute equalizer against Sassuolo, before leaving to a standing ovation.
Following the match, el Tanque, was celebrated on the pitch by teammates and coaches as a large banner was unveiled in his honor. It simply read: “#19 Grazie German.”
In addition, Denis took to social media and posted an emotional goodbye to Atalanta fans, thanking them for their support over the years.
“Dear Bergamo,” read Denis’ Instagram post. “I wouldn’t know where to start. Maybe with just a huge ‘thank you’!
“My family and I felt so welcomed and we leave holding you close to our hearts. I will always have a special bond with this city, which fate brought me to and which I have come to love so much.
“Thank you for all you have given me. I have matured so much here, as a player and as a person. I am eternally grateful.”
At 34, and with Atalanta nearing safety in mid-table, Denis will return to his native Argentina with Independiente. The striker previously starred with the Argentine club, scoring 37 goals in 70 games, before joining Napoli in 2008 for around $7 million. Despite three solid, but unspectacular seasons with Napoli and Udinese, the Argentine striker found his feet with Atalanta in 2011.
With the team newly promoted and deducted six points in Denis’ first season with Atalanta, he led his new team to a comfortable 13th place finish after scoring 16 goals. A dark period hungover Bergamo that season thanks to a betting scandal involving former captain Cristiano Doni. Looking for a new hero, fans flocked to Denis’ side, admiring the striker for his work ethic. Making the Argentine a beloved idol as another crumbled.
In spite of a decrease in goal production in subsequent seasons, Denis still dictated Atalanta’s success, even with the sales of stars Giacomo Bonaventura and Andrea Consigli. Perhaps, calling time on his days in Bergamo came too early. Yet, leaving now, still on top of his game, will leave supporters with countless memories of the striker’s exploits.