Atalanta captain Gomez fears CL wins may have fuelled pandemic
ROME - Atalanta skipper Alejandro Gomez looks back with worry on two memorable Champions League showings he fears may have contributed to one of the worst clusters of coronavirus infections in hard-hit Italy.
"Having played those games was terrible," the forward said late Monday in an interview with sports daily Ole, which is based in his native Argentina.
He recalled the 45,000 Atalanta fans who on February 19 followed the Bergamo side at Milan's Giuseppe Meazza Stadium, where they hammered Valencia 4-1 in the first leg of the last 16; a 4-3 win behind closed doors in Spain on March 10 sealed progress to the quarter-finals on the Bergamaschi's first-ever participation in the event.
"I think that the current situation in Bergamo, which is one of [Italy's] most infected areas, could depend from its having one of the best hospitals in the Lombardy region, with many people treated here," he said. "But also from the game we played with Valencia."
Gomez also said he and his team-mates worry about contagion after more than a third of Valencia's team and staff tested positive - the Bergamo side, however, appear now to be beyond the average incubation period of two weeks.
The 32-year-old Gomez, who has been in Bergamo since 2014, said he contacted his compatriots Paulo Dybala of Juventus and Fiorentina captain German Pezzella, two of 15 positive cases in the Serie A, finding them in good condition.
With all sporting events suspended and Italy in its third week of lockdown, Gomez said he is continuing his isolation at home with wife and three children, as positive cases in the Bergamo province approached 6,500, while 6,077 deaths have been recorded, mostly in northern Italy.
"I have a hard time thinking about football," he told Sky TV. "In this moment it is the last thing I am interested in."dpa