Conor Clancy Date: 7th March 2020 at 2:50am
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Atalanta captain Alejandro Papu Gomez has hit back at Andrea Agnelli’s comments in which he appeared to question the validity of a club of La Dea’s stature earning qualification to the Champions League.

The Juventus chairman caused a stir earlier this week by wondering whether or not a team without European pedigree should be able to qualify for the Champions League’s group phase ‘after just one season’ when clubs with more history in the tournament miss out.

“I have great respect for what Atalanta is doing,” Agnelli began to tell those in attendance at the FT Business of Football Summit.

“Without international history and with a great sporting performance, they qualified directly to the biggest European club competition. Is that right or not?”

Bergamo’s mayor Giorgio Gori quickly chose his city’s side, and their captain has also had his say.

“So Italian football will never grow,” wrote Papu on his Instagram story on Friday, on top of an image of a newspaper showing Agnelli’s words.