Zapata playing against Barcelona in Napoli.

Zapata playing against Barcelona in Napoli.

Every professional athlete is likely aware that even the purest talent could not be enough for a successful international career. To make it in the competitive world of sports, you must work hard and be blessed with some good fortune occasionally. Sometimes, the favourable conditions must be just right, and we don’t always know what they are. Colombian football player Duván Zapata seems to have found his place at Atalanta B.C.

In the tough football business, it is often hard for clubs to find their proper way as well. Nowadays, the price you must pay even for players who are yet to establish their real value tends to grow higher and higher. And yet there is no guarantee that an individual will be a perfect fit for a specific team. So, it’s not easy to come up with a quality squad on a budget. Of course, loans are the much safer bet, but you must make a judgment call in the end, nevertheless. There are, however, a few benefits of taking risks that might help improve our decision-making processes to some extent, of course. And there is always the potential that it will all work out for the best. That’s what happened for the Italian club based in Bergamo when they decided to sign the Colombian player on a two-season loan deal from Sampdoria in July 2018.

Truth told, Duván Zapata isn’t the young, recently blossomed talent ready to progress to the next level (so, perhaps not quite the best match for our Young Lions series). He isn’t new to Serie A, either. Apart from his time back in South America (América de Cali and Estudiantes de la Plata), he only knows about football in Italy. He was a Napoli player for five years (2013-2018), and during this period, he also scored goals for Udinese and Sampdoria. However, he was never influential enough in his game in comparison to the current season. With 15 league goals to his name, he now competes against Cristiano Ronaldo and others for the top goal-scorer title. Moreover, he found himself recently scoring against Juventus — an unlikely side to lose points in Serie A. He did it twice in a December league game and twice in a shocking 3-0 win that knocked the Old Lady out of the Italian cup competitions (Coppa Italia).

It seems like making an investment in the Colombian striker has worked out so far for Atalanta. And with an option to buy him out after the loan ends, he could stay in Bergamo for a lot longer than expected.


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