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Gasperini blasts ‘insulting controversy’ over Valencia virus row

Milan (AFP) – Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini said on Thursday he was the victim of an “insulting controversy” after admitting to coronavirus symptoms when his team played a Champions League match against Valencia in March. 

“It’s a controversy that I really find very insulting. I know I followed the protocols,” Gasperini told Sky Sport on Thursday. 

“It was a period when I had discomfort. But I had no fever or lung problems of any kind. When we left Bergamo, I was fine. So I think it happened but the controversy is insulting and unpleasant.”

Gasperini, 62, told newspaper Gazzetta Dello Sport recently he was sick when Atalanta beat Valencia 4-3 behind closed doors at the Mestalla stadium on March 10, to reach the quarter-finals with an 8-4 aggregate victory.

“The day before the Valencia game I was sick, the afternoon of the game it was worse. I didn’t look good on the bench,” said Gasperini.

“It was March 10. The following two nights in Zingonia (Atalanta’s training centre) I slept a little. I didn’t have a fever, but I felt shattered, like I had one at 40 (degrees).

“An ambulance passed every two minutes. There is a hospital nearby. It seemed like a war zone. At night I thought: ‘if I go in there, what happens to me’? 

“I can’t go now, I have so many things to do … I was saying it jokingly, to lighten things. But I really thought so.”

Valencia said on Sunday they were “surprised” to see Gasperini say he was “aware of suffering symptoms theoretically compatible with those of coronavirus, without taking preventive measures”.

“Such actions, if this was the case, would have put at risk numerous people during the trip to — and stay in — Valencia,” the La Liga club said in a statement.

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