The old adage of “you can’t win anything with kids” has been well and truly proved wrong by a youthful Atalanta side consisting of just one player aged more than 23. The virtually unthinkable when this game began in 2018 has come to fruition at the end of the sixth campaign, with Atalanta wrapping up their maiden Serie A title in May 2024.
In the previous episode, we’d begun the 2023/24 season in scintillating form – winning our first 11 league games and setting a Serie A record of 12 games without conceding a goal. And that pretty much carried on for the remainder of the season.
We certainly began 2024 with a bang, recording five straight league victories – including a 3-1 win at home to Juventus thanks to goals from Antonio Marin, Alessandro Zandelli and the ever-impressive Alessandro Cortinovis.
That winning streak took us to an 11-game league winning streak, then a 0-0 draw with Sampdoria was followed up with a 3-2 win at Genoa and an impressive 3-0 home win over AC Milan, in which the main man Cosimo Marco Da Graca scored twice and Marin got the other. In fact, we went all the way through to 17 March without suffering a league defeat, eventually losing our unbeaten record in a 1-0 defeat at third-placed Fiorentina – after 28 matches.
While the league form was mightily impressive, the cup performances were a bit more of a struggle. We did manage to reach the Italian Cup Semi-Finals for the first time in my reign but eventually went out against Inter Milan, having lost the first-leg 2-0 then drawing 0-0 at home in the second.
We were also drawn a tough draw in the first knockout round of the Champions League, up against an irresistible Manchester City side – boasting the talents of Sergej Milinkovic Savic, Kevin De Bruyne, Moise Kean and Kylian Mbappe, with Raheem Sterling as an unused substitute. We got battered by City in the home leg but somehow managed to scrape a 1-1 draw, only conceding late on through a Tiago Frasco own goal. Then the second leg was equally dominant in their favour, but they still only beat us 1-0 with a goal from right-back Alvaro Odriozola.
And with the cups out of the way we were free to focus fully on the league. The Fiorentina defeat immediately followed the City exit but we bounced back in style with a 6-0 hammering of Torino, thanks to a hat-trick from Cortinovis, then a 3-0 win at Perugia with a brace for Marin.
The title challenge threatened to falter with two defeats in four games, firstly a 2-1 loss at Lazio then a 3-1 loss at Napoli, with a 1-1 draw at Inter followed by a 4-0 win at home to Pescara.
But we weren’t to be denied, wrapping up a first-ever league success for the Bergamo club with a 3-0 victory over Spezia, with goals from emerging midfield wonderkid Timmi Uldbjerg (see below) and the usual culprits Marin and Da Graca.
We celebrated the title win in style with three more wins without conceding to finish the season, including a hat-trick for Uldbjerg in a 4-0 final day of the season win at home to Udinese. That saw us finish the campaign with an impressive 99 points and 99 goals – only conceding 16 times in 38 matches.
Our performances saw the players rightly take a clean sweep of end of season awards, with Da Graca claiming striker of the year, Marin midfielder of the year, Sem Mijnheer goalkeeper of the year, and the defender of the year was dominated by Atalanta players with full-backs Antonio Carlos and Josha Vagnoman – who is still the club’s record signing – joined by the superb centre-back Jakub Maruzsewski – whose value has rocketed over £60 million and has attracted interest from all of Europe’s major clubs.
We also dominated the team of the year, with only Cristiano Ronaldo and our former player Christian Capone getting a look-in.
Da Graca and Marin finished the season as the two top scorers in the league, while Marin once again had the top average rating and the most man of the match awards.
While Da Graca won the European Golden Shoe for his 32 league goals, which was also a league and club record.
The league victory also saw me instated as a club legend, which was of course a very proud personal moment.
This was a truly historic season for Atalanta, but I firmly believe there’s much more to come. We’re still struggling to do too much in the Champions League, and haven’t yet won the Italian Cup, but I’m more than keen to build on the success and dominate Serie A.
Full player stats from the 2023/24 season are below.