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Watch: Atalanta fans defy COVID-19 restrictions to cheer team before Real Madrid game

Thousands of Atalanta fans ignored the Italian team’s plea to stay away before Wednesday’s Champions League match against Real Madrid in Bergamo.

Over 4,000 gathered outside the Gewiss Stadium in northern Italy hours before the 2000GMT kickoff with a party atmosphere despite the coronavirus restrictions.

The cheering fans, including families with young children all wearing protective masks, waved banners and flags with a fireworks display and smoke bombs set off.

They waited for the team bus carrying Atalanta players and staff before the last 16, first leg match.

Atalanta had published an appeal from the local health authority not to turn up at the stadium during COVID-19 lockdown measures.

“We keep in mind the danger of contagion of that virus that we are fighting with all our strength and ability,” the team said. 

“We live the great and historic game with the prudence and caution that the moment and the preventive health measures require, avoiding meetings, hugs, choirs and gatherings. 

“The time will come again to live these attitudes in the utmost freedom, and surely we will be there, but we still need to have patience: the same we have shown in waiting for this dream encounter with Real.”

Atalanta are playing their second Champions League campaign, but first knock-out round in their home stadium which underwent renovations last season.

Atalanta won their last 16, first leg clash against Valencia 4-1 on front of 45,000 spectators in Milan’s San Siro in a match considered to have been one of the reasons behind the acceleration of the virus in Italy with Bergamo at the epicentre of the country’s outbreak.

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