Atalanta are undoubtedly one of the most exciting teams in European football right now.
After qualifying for the Champions League last season, the team from Bergamo have continued to thrill fans across the globe with their exciting attacking style of football.
Atalanta have scored 70 goals in Serie A this season, 10 more than their nearest competitor Juventus.
They are also on course to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions League after a 4-1 win at home against Valencia. Not bad, eh?
But apparently their brilliance in Europe has not been enough to convince Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli that they’re worthy of a spot in the Champions League – despite qualifying for the tournament on merit.
“I have great respect for everything that Atalanta are doing, but without international history and thanks to just one great season, they had direct access into the primary European club competition. Is that right or not?” Agnelli told the FT Business of Football Summit in London, per Goal.
“Then I think of Roma, who contributed in recent years to maintaining Italy’s ranking. They had one bad season and are out, with all the consequent damage to them financially.”
Ridiculous, right? But that’s not all. Amazingly, Agnelli believes we need to ‘protect investments and costs’ of the European giants going forward.
“We must also protect investment and costs,” the Juve chairman added. “So would Atalanta therefore have less chance of playing at a high level?”
“I don’t have the answer to that, it’s just about setting up a transparent process to make this decision.
“There are teams who won the league or cup and achieve qualification just on the basis of their country’s ranking. The point is how we balance the contribution to European football and the performance of a single year.”
Let’s just kill any joy left in football, shall we?
Maybe Agnelli is bitter that Atalanta have a better chance of progressing in the Champions League following Juve’s 1-0 loss away at Lyon.
Or maybe the sight of Duvan Zapata scoring more goals than Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018/19 scarred the Bianconeri’s hierarchy.
Hopefully Agnelli’s pathetic dreams never become a reality.
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