The first leg of the Atalanta vs Valencia clash (played on February 19, 2020) was played at San Siro in Milan with almost a third of Bergamo's population present at the stadium along with close to 2,500 away fans from Spanish club Valencia. The UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Atalanta vs Valencia second-leg clash was later played behind closed doors at the Mestalla in Spain on March 11, 2020.
The Atalanta vs Valencia match was played behind closed doors as the Italy coronavirus pandemic was still in its infancy. However, recent reports in Italy claim that the Atalanta vs Valencia first-leg tie was 'Game Zero' for the coronavirus outbreak in the city of Bergamo which has claimed the lives of thousands. Bergamo mayor Giorgio Gori has even gone on to term the Atalanta vs Valencia match as a "biological bomb".
Don Giuseppe Berardelli was a 72 year old priest from Bergamo, Italy. He was battling the coronavirus and suffering from it. When a younger patient was brought into the hospital, he gave the young person his ventilator. Berardelli passed away while saving a younger life. RIP ❤️ pic.twitter.com/oYlXDDPGxL— Imam of Peace (@Imamofpeace) March 25, 2020
Bergamo mayor Giorgi Gori: "All 40,000 fans at the Valencia v Atalanta match were probably infected." pic.twitter.com/SncoU3tVsU— total Barça (@totalBarca) March 25, 2020
Earlier this week, during a live Facebook chat with the Foreign Press Association in Rome, Bergamo Mayor Giorgio Gori claimed that the Atalanta vs Valencia match could have been the source for the major coronavirus outbreak across the city. In a heartfelt message, Gori was quoted as saying "We were mid-February so we didn't have the circumstances of what was happening. If it's true what they're saying that the virus was already circulating in Europe in January, then it's very probable that 40,000 Bergamaschi in the stands of San Siro, all together, exchanged the virus between them. As is possible that so many Bergamaschi that night got together in houses, bars to watch the match and did the same. Unfortunately, we couldn't have known. No one knew the virus was already here. It was inevitable."
Just a week after the first match in Milan, the first case was reported in the city of Bergamo. Soon after that, a journalist from Valencia tested positive for the virus. As per official reports in Italy, almost 7,000 people in the province of Bergamo had tested positive for COVID-19 with more than 1,000 casualties. Meanwhile, the Spanish region of Valencia saw the total number of infected people cross the 2,600 mark. In addition to that, Valencia FC confirmed that 35 percent of their entire staff (including players Eliaquim Mangala and Ezequiel Garay) tested positive for COVID-19. Atalanta FC reported their first positive case in the form of goalkeeper Marco Sportiello on Tuesday.