It all started on Sunday, when Gasperini himself gave an interview to Gazzetta dello Sport telling that he had coronavirus. The city of Atalanta is Bergamo, that is one of the most affected by the epidemic in Italy: in the first days of March, when the game in question was played, it was becoming one of the world epicenters of the pandemic. The lockdown in Lombardy it was already in place, and Valencia-Atalanta, which was played at the Mestalla stadium behind closed doors without an audience, would have been one of the last before the interruption of European football. Valencia would become a major hotbed in the following days, and many hypothesized a connection with the spread of the virus in Spain and the first leg played between Atalanta and Valencia in Bergamo on February 19, a few days before the first cases ascertained in Italy.
In his interview, Gasperini said:
The day before the Valencia game I was sick, the afternoon of the game worse. I didn’t have a pretty face on the bench. It was March 10th. The following two nights in Zingonia I slept little. I did not have a fever, but I felt like I was in pieces at 40. An ambulance passed every two minutes. There is a hospital nearby. It seemed to be at war. At night I thought: if I go in there, what happens to me? I can’t leave now, I have so many things to do. I said it jokingly, to exorcise. But I really thought so.
Saturday 14 I did a hard workout like I haven’t remembered for years. One hour on the treadmill, more than 10 kilometers of running. I felt good, strong. The worst was over. The next day Vittorio, starred chef and fan of the Goddess, sent us 25 doves and Dom Perignon from 2008, the year of grace. I taste it and say: “But this is water”. Tullio (Gritti, second of Gasperini, ndc) looks at me wrong: “Seriously? It’s a delight. ” The dove looked like bread to me.
Gasperini went on to say that he had spent the period of isolation in Turin, his city, and that he had not done the swab: however, the serological test confirmed his exposure to the coronavirus.
From the beginning, the interview had been commented with some surprise for the candor with which Gasperini had admitted that he had gone to the stadium in Valencia despite having symptoms attributable to COVID-19, and despite coming from a city where the virus was known it circulated a lot. Therefore, violating the health advice and recommendations that for a couple of weeks had been repeated and persistently communicated by the authorities.
In the days following the match, Atalanta goalkeeper Marco Sportiello was also positive for the coronavirus, as were several players and staff from Valencia.
A few hours after the interview came out, the Spanish team had released a statement saying “surprise” of his words, adding that participating in the game without precautions had put other people at risk, even during the trip. It did not end there: in the following days the Valencian Community Health Councilor Ana Barceló defined Gasperini’s behavior as “little responsible”, and according to what he says Brand Valencia have asked for a penalty from UEFA.
Thursday, the sports newspaper Tuttosport published an article that looks like a kind of defense of Gasperini, in which it is claimed that he did not have a fever in the days of the match in Valencia (which he himself said in the interview, explaining however that he was very bad anyway) and in which it is speculated that it may have caught the virus during that trip. The reason would be that the infection was already widespread in Valencia, which is true, but certainly not enough to prove this thesis.
Since Gasperini never made the swab, it is impossible to say when he was infected, even if the story that he himself made to the Gazzetta dello Sport he suggests that when he went to Valencia he had already developed the first symptoms of the disease.