Image Credits: Shutterstock / Papu Gomez - Instagram
Argentine midfielder Alejandro 'Papu' Gomez has opened up about his time at his former Serie A club Atalanta and how his relationship with manager Gian Piero Gasperini broke down which led to his eventual transfer to La Liga club Sevilla. Papu Gomez spent six seasons with the Nerazzurri before making the shift to Spain.
Papu Gomez claims he left because Coach Gasperini tried to "physically attack" him in the locker room at halftime during a Champions League match against Midtjylland. Gomez explains that he disobeyed a tactical indication from Gasperini as he told Gomez to play on the right but Gomez said no carried on playing on the left. Gomez said he understood that the coach would be upset at halftime and he knew that Gasperini was going to take him off given that Gomez had disobeyed his orders in front of so many cameras.
"I disobeyed him in a tactical indication," Gomez told newspaper La Nacion of how the controversy began. "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 (fine) that he got angry. I already knew that at half-time he was going to take me out, and so (he did)."
Gomez then claims that Gasperini tried to "physically attack" him in the locker room. Gomez then added that he asked for a meeting with the club president Antonio Percassi and told him that he had no problem continuing, even accepted that he was wrong as a captain he did not behave well which set a bad example disobeying the coach but told the president that he needed an apology from Gasperini as well.
"But in the halftime 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."
Gomez then said that the entire team had a meeting the next day and he apologised to the coach and his teammates for what had happened but he said that he did not get an apology from Coach Gasperini. Following that Gomez spoke to the president and said he did not want to continue at the club with Gasperini, the president told Gomez that Atalanta was not going to let him go and that led to Gomez' isolation from the senior squad and was made to train with the reserves.
“The next day there was a meeting of the entire team," the player said. "I apologised to the coach and my teammates for what had happened. And I did not receive any apology from the coach. 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. 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. “
Gomez says it was an ugly situation because he had spent seven years there and they just left him and claimed the president was afraid to ask the coach to just apologise. He said people did not know what happened and that now they will know the truth.
“It was ugly because after seven years they left me lying there, after everything I gave the club. They behaved badly. The president did not have the balls to ask the coach to simply apologise to me. That was the end of everything. People don't know what happened, so I'm just now telling it," he said.
"People are going to know the truth now, and they deserve it and I deserve it. From one day to the next, I disappeared. The journalists stopped asking about me in Atalanta, nor do they ask my ex-teammates. It's like I stopped existing for Atalanta.”
Gomez claims that it was the club's intention to place all the blame on him, he said that people were angry with him because they think he left because of the money or he did not want to continue at the club but "that is not the case" Gomez said.
“I think their intention was to place all the blame on me. And the truth is not that. And people, perhaps, are angry with me because it is thought that I did not want to continue in Atalanta, or it is believed that I preferred to go to Seville for more money. None of that. It was time for the fans to know the truth."