Serie A: Moustapha Ciss, the refugee who asks for ‘asylum’ in Atalanta with goals

‘For great ills, great remedies’, Gian Piero Gasperini must have thought before the casualties of Zapata, Ilicic, Malinovskyi, Boga and Miranchuk and Muriel’s scoring crisis. The Atalanta coach demonstrated, once again, that he does not ‘shake his pulse’ and made his Serie A debut for Moustapha Elhadji Ciss (Conakry, 9-14-2003) at just 18 years and 187 days old.

The bet, risky, came out wonderfully. The young Ciss came on for Muriel in minute 65 and in minute 82 he scored the goal that gave ‘La Dea’ victory against Bologna (0-1). He received a great pass from Pasalic and, one-on-one, beat Skorupski with a left-footed shot that hit the post.

“Ciss’ entry is a piece of genius by Gasperini. ‘This boy has talent,’ he told us. It is the demonstration that there is always something good in the quarry. You just have to have the courage to put it on.”assures Tullio Gritti, Atalanta’s assistant, in ‘TMW’.

Ciss’s entry is a stroke of genius by Gasperini. It is proof that there is always something good in the quarry. You just have to have the courage to put it

tullio gretti

He came to Italy as a ‘refugee’ and an orphan

The story of Moustapha Ciss is not a ‘fairy tale’. Life dealt him a hard ‘stab’ in 2019, when he was only 16 years old. “His father died, he dropped out of school and headed for Europe in search of a better life”. These are the words of Antonio Palma, president of the ASD Rinascita, the refugee team that ’embraced’ him.

The new ‘jewel’ of ‘La Dea’ couldn’t even debut with Rinascita, who plays in the Eighth division of ‘calcium’. FIFA did not consider him a beneficiary of an “international protection asylum” and I could only play friendly matches. Still, he made his mark scoring 18 goals in eight games.

“In a short time he became one of our most important players. We immediately understood that he had talent. He could not play in the League, but in all the games he played he left his mark with goals. He started in band, cut to the middle and scored. It is very fast and difficult to mark”, recalls Antonio Palma.

In a short time he became one of our most important players. We immediately understood that he had talent

Anthony Palma

He wanted to do his ‘first steps’ as an electrician or pizza maker

Serie A and the dream of being a professional footballer were far away. So much so that Moustapha Ciss began to explore other avenues. “He worked hard to become an electrician. He also wanted to learn to be a pizza maker. He was always very humble, but it was clear that he had something more than the others,” confesses Hassane Niang Baye, his former coach at the Rinascita Refugees.

He was always very humble, but it was evident that he had something more than the others.

Hassane Niang Baye

Atalanta discovered him playing futsal

Ciss did not take long to stand out and Atalanta noticed his talent in a futsal match. “He saw him play a friendly match against Lecce Spring and then we won the Red Project, promoted by the Italian Federation among reception centers throughout the national territory. That tournament was a showcase that Moustapha knew how to exploit, he is predestined”, clarifies Vincenzo Nobile, sports director of the ASD Rinascita Refugees.

That tournament was a showcase that Moustapha knew how to exploit, it is a predestined

Vincenzo Noble

“Atalanta chose him immediately. He had extraordinary quick thinking and athletic abilities. He uses both feet equally. he is a natural talent… and very hard-working,” says Roberto Nitto, the lawyer who alerted ‘La Dea’ to his potential.

He had extraordinary quick thinking and athletic abilities. He uses both feet equally. he is a natural talent

roberto nito

It was a ‘crush’ that lasted a year and a half in time, until Ciss turned 18. But ‘La Dea’ wasn’t going to ‘bluff’. What’s more, he had to release a non-community card, as he did with Musa Barrow, to incorporate him in the last winter market.

In Zingonia he has been burning stages at the speed of light. Debut with the youth playing the last 13′ in the victory in ‘Coppa’ against Sampdoria (2-4) and, immediately afterwards, as a starter, add three goals in three games. He signed a brace against Milan (1-3) and scored the winning goal against Naples (1-0).

On March 13, his first call came against Genoa (0-0)… but he did not play. A week later, debut with a goal. Write down your name. His story well deserves it: Moustapha Elhadji Ciss.