Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gomez has revealed he left Atalanta in January because manager Gian Piero Gasperini tried to ‘physically attack’ him in the dressing room at half-time during a match.
It is the first time the Argentine forward, now a Sevilla player, has made the allegation – which was quickly refuted by Gasperini.
It helps explain why Gomez so abruptly left the Italian club, which he captained and had served with distinction for seven years, back in January.
Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gomez has revealed the circumstances behind his departure from Atalanta
Gomez has claimed the Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini tried to ‘physically attack’ him during a dressing room altercation at half-time in a Champions League game
Gomez, 33, said he asked club president Antonio Percassi for a transfer after Gasperini refused to apologise for the altercation, which happened during the Champions League group stage match against Midtjylland in December 2020.
The relationship between player and coach proved irreparable and Gomez was sold to Sevilla during the January window after Percassi made clear he couldn’t move to a rival club in Italy.
Gomez left Atalanta and signed for Spanish club Sevilla shortly after the fall-out
Speaking to newspaper , Gomez said: ‘I disobeyed him in a tactical instruction. There were 10 minutes left until the first-half was over and he asked me to play on the right, while I was playing very well on the left. And I said no.
‘Having done that in the middle of the game, with the cameras…. It was perfectly [understandable] that he got angry. I already knew that at half-time he going to take me out [subbed off].
‘But in the half-time locker room he exceeded the limits and tried to physically attack me. When there is physical aggression, it is already intolerable.
‘So I asked for a meeting with the president of the club, Antonio Percassi, and I told him that I had no problem continuing, accepting that I had been wrong.
‘As a captain, I had not behaved well, I had been a bad example disobeying the coach.
‘But I told the president that I needed an apology from Gasperini.’
He continued: ‘The next day there was a meeting of the entire team. I apologised to the coach and my team-mates for what had happened. And I did not receive any apology from the coach.
The bust-up happened during Atalanta’s 1-1 draw with Midtjylland in the Champions League
‘After a few days I communicated to the president that I did not want to be at Atalanta working with Gasperini.
‘The president told me that he was not going to let me out, that he was not going to release me.
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‘The tug of war began and the costs were for me that they separated me from the squad and I ended up training only with the reserves.
‘It was ugly because after seven years they left me lying there, after everything I have the club. They behaved badly.
‘The president did not have the ball to ask the coach to simply apologise to me. That was the end of everything.’
It brought Gomez’s seven-year association with the Bergamo club to an abrupt ending
Gomez added that ‘people deserve to know the truth’ about why he departed Atalanta so quickly, with his last game coming against Juventus on December 16 as rumours swirled of a breakdown with Gasperini.
In an interview with , Gasperini gave a contrasting interpretation of events.
‘Gomez’s behaviour and attitudes, in and out the pitch, became unacceptable for the manager and his team-mates,’ he said.
‘The physical attack came from him, not me, but the real reason he left Bergamo is because he seriously disrespected the owners of the club.
‘I hope that Gomez can continue to shine with his performances, as he did at Atalanta.’