The Argentinean Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gómez, Atalanta striker, had an offer to play for the Italian national team in 2017, an option that, in principle, opened his dual nationality, but for which he could not opt for having disputed the U-20 World Cup with the albiceleste, whose absolute selection debuted a year later.
“Thanks to my wife, who has relatives in Udine (northern Italy), I have a double passport, Argentine and Italian. In 2017 (Giampiero) Ventura – then the Italian coach – wanted to call me, but I had already won the U-20 World Cup with Argentina in 2007 and it was impossible, “said Gómez in a live on Instagram in which he participated along with former player Fabio Cannavaro.
To establish a national team, FIFA establishes that you must have dual nationality at the time when you make your debut with the first national team – regardless of category. Pu Papu ‘played Canada’s U-20 in 2007 and nine years later obtained Italian citizenship.
“At that moment I thought about it, seriously. It would be a great opportunity to play for a prestigious team like Italy. At the end of 2018, my first call came with the Argentine national team,” he added.
Fabio Cannavaro wanted to sign Gómez for the Chinese Tianjin
In the live show, Gómez and Cannavaro also told an anecdote that dates back to when the Italian trained the Chinese Tianjin (2016-2017).
“Do you know that I called Atalanta to sign you? I was at Tianjin and I spoke with your club because I wanted you to come to China. You would have been perfect for Chinese football, but in reality you are also perfect for European football,” Cannavaro said.
“This news will come out everywhere. The truth is that in some years I would like to have an experience outside Italy, especially to learn English,” replied Gómez.
Gómez, born in Buenos Aires in 1988, is the captain of the Atalanta, in which he has played since 2014, and scored seven goals this season, before the interruption of sports activity due to the coronavirus pandemic.