Culture

Play it by the book

When Atalanta defender Mattia Caldara isn’t reading the runs of opposition forwards, he enjoys a pastime that puts him on a different page to most of his peers

WORDS Chris Burke and Paolo Menicucci

PICTURE THE AVERAGE FOOTBALLER on a day off and you might imagine marathon PlayStation sessions or hours spent poring over social media. Not so Mattia Caldara. The Atalanta defender stands out from his peers by pursuing a rare interest for the modern player: reading.

“After graduating from high school I stayed a year longer with the [Atalanta] youth team as an over-age player here in Bergamo,” he says. “And honestly, because I only had training sessions in the afternoon, I felt the need to ‘complete’ myself, because reading is one thing and studying for school is another. I didn't want to waste the free time I had and reading helped me a lot. Then I realised that every book enriched me in some way and opened my mind.”

Mattia Caldara’s favourite book

That passion has stayed with him ever since, in a career that has brought the 26-year-old a pair of Italy caps and a Champions League debut last season, when he helped newcomers Atalanta reach the quarter-finals. Gian Piero Gasperini’s side were ultimately thwarted by a late Paris Saint-Germain comeback in Lisbon, but hopefully Caldara’s soft spot for Russian writers prepared him for life’s crueller outcomes.

PICTURE THE AVERAGE FOOTBALLER on a day off and you might imagine marathon PlayStation sessions or hours spent poring over social media. Not so Mattia Caldara. The Atalanta defender stands out from his peers by pursuing a rare interest for the modern player: reading.

“After graduating from high school I stayed a year longer with the [Atalanta] youth team as an over-age player here in Bergamo,” he says. “And honestly, because I only had training sessions in the afternoon, I felt the need to ‘complete’ myself, because reading is one thing and studying for school is another. I didn't want to waste the free time I had and reading helped me a lot. Then I realised that every book enriched me in some way and opened my mind.”

Mattia Caldara’s favourite book

That passion has stayed with him ever since, in a career that has brought the 26-year-old a pair of Italy caps and a Champions League debut last season, when he helped newcomers Atalanta reach the quarter-finals. Gian Piero Gasperini’s side were ultimately thwarted by a late Paris Saint-Germain comeback in Lisbon, but hopefully Caldara’s soft spot for Russian writers prepared him for life’s crueller outcomes.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

“My favourite book is Crime and Punishment because it taught me more than any other,” he says of the 19th-century Fyodor Dostoevsky classic. “There are certain passages that taught me... maybe not how to live, but to see certain situations in a different way. So it changed me a lot.”

More recently, Caldara has been exploring the work of German-American author Charles Bukowski. But although the centre-back was once nicknamed The Poet by former Atalanta team-mate Andrea Petagna, he has no plans to take up writing himself. “To be honest, the essays I wrote in my Italian classes were not exactly great. But never say never, it could happen one day!”

PICTURE THE AVERAGE FOOTBALLER on a day off and you might imagine marathon PlayStation sessions or hours spent poring over social media. Not so Mattia Caldara. The Atalanta defender stands out from his peers by pursuing a rare interest for the modern player: reading.

“After graduating from high school I stayed a year longer with the [Atalanta] youth team as an over-age player here in Bergamo,” he says. “And honestly, because I only had training sessions in the afternoon, I felt the need to ‘complete’ myself, because reading is one thing and studying for school is another. I didn't want to waste the free time I had and reading helped me a lot. Then I realised that every book enriched me in some way and opened my mind.”

Mattia Caldara’s favourite book

That passion has stayed with him ever since, in a career that has brought the 26-year-old a pair of Italy caps and a Champions League debut last season, when he helped newcomers Atalanta reach the quarter-finals. Gian Piero Gasperini’s side were ultimately thwarted by a late Paris Saint-Germain comeback in Lisbon, but hopefully Caldara’s soft spot for Russian writers prepared him for life’s crueller outcomes.

Play it by the book
Culture

Play it by the book

When Atalanta defender Mattia Caldara isn’t reading the runs of opposition forwards, he enjoys a pastime that puts him on a different page to most of his peers

WORDS Chris Burke and Paolo Menicucci

PICTURE THE AVERAGE FOOTBALLER on a day off and you might imagine marathon PlayStation sessions or hours spent poring over social media. Not so Mattia Caldara. The Atalanta defender stands out from his peers by pursuing a rare interest for the modern player: reading.

“After graduating from high school I stayed a year longer with the [Atalanta] youth team as an over-age player here in Bergamo,” he says. “And honestly, because I only had training sessions in the afternoon, I felt the need to ‘complete’ myself, because reading is one thing and studying for school is another. I didn't want to waste the free time I had and reading helped me a lot. Then I realised that every book enriched me in some way and opened my mind.”

Mattia Caldara’s favourite book

That passion has stayed with him ever since, in a career that has brought the 26-year-old a pair of Italy caps and a Champions League debut last season, when he helped newcomers Atalanta reach the quarter-finals. Gian Piero Gasperini’s side were ultimately thwarted by a late Paris Saint-Germain comeback in Lisbon, but hopefully Caldara’s soft spot for Russian writers prepared him for life’s crueller outcomes.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

PICTURE THE AVERAGE FOOTBALLER on a day off and you might imagine marathon PlayStation sessions or hours spent poring over social media. Not so Mattia Caldara. The Atalanta defender stands out from his peers by pursuing a rare interest for the modern player: reading.

“After graduating from high school I stayed a year longer with the [Atalanta] youth team as an over-age player here in Bergamo,” he says. “And honestly, because I only had training sessions in the afternoon, I felt the need to ‘complete’ myself, because reading is one thing and studying for school is another. I didn't want to waste the free time I had and reading helped me a lot. Then I realised that every book enriched me in some way and opened my mind.”

Mattia Caldara’s favourite book

That passion has stayed with him ever since, in a career that has brought the 26-year-old a pair of Italy caps and a Champions League debut last season, when he helped newcomers Atalanta reach the quarter-finals. Gian Piero Gasperini’s side were ultimately thwarted by a late Paris Saint-Germain comeback in Lisbon, but hopefully Caldara’s soft spot for Russian writers prepared him for life’s crueller outcomes.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

“My favourite book is Crime and Punishment because it taught me more than any other,” he says of the 19th-century Fyodor Dostoevsky classic. “There are certain passages that taught me... maybe not how to live, but to see certain situations in a different way. So it changed me a lot.”

More recently, Caldara has been exploring the work of German-American author Charles Bukowski. But although the centre-back was once nicknamed The Poet by former Atalanta team-mate Andrea Petagna, he has no plans to take up writing himself. “To be honest, the essays I wrote in my Italian classes were not exactly great. But never say never, it could happen one day!”

PICTURE THE AVERAGE FOOTBALLER on a day off and you might imagine marathon PlayStation sessions or hours spent poring over social media. Not so Mattia Caldara. The Atalanta defender stands out from his peers by pursuing a rare interest for the modern player: reading.

“After graduating from high school I stayed a year longer with the [Atalanta] youth team as an over-age player here in Bergamo,” he says. “And honestly, because I only had training sessions in the afternoon, I felt the need to ‘complete’ myself, because reading is one thing and studying for school is another. I didn't want to waste the free time I had and reading helped me a lot. Then I realised that every book enriched me in some way and opened my mind.”

Mattia Caldara’s favourite book

That passion has stayed with him ever since, in a career that has brought the 26-year-old a pair of Italy caps and a Champions League debut last season, when he helped newcomers Atalanta reach the quarter-finals. Gian Piero Gasperini’s side were ultimately thwarted by a late Paris Saint-Germain comeback in Lisbon, but hopefully Caldara’s soft spot for Russian writers prepared him for life’s crueller outcomes.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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