D.He is perhaps the most sought-after goalkeeper in the world and has been officially without a club since Thursday morning. Gianluigi Donnarumma’s contract with AC Milan expired at midnight on June 30th. It was of course calculated that the 22-year-old keeper did not renew. The Italian gazettes know that his notorious advisor Mino Raiola has long since negotiated a new, highly lucrative contract with Paris Saint-Germain.
Of course, it was mainly about the money, Donnarumma now has a five-year contract in Paris and is reported to earn twelve million euros per season. AC Milan couldn’t offer that much. That’s not just a lot of money for a young man. Donnarumma’s upcoming move to Ligue 1 is also the only known cause of dispute in Italian harmony at this European Championship.
The initially skeptical Tifosi have long been compact behind their young team without stars. They came without conceding a goal and with three convincing victories through the group stage and then defeated Austria with difficulty in the second round 2-1 in extra time. This Friday, Italy will meet Belgium, number one in the FIFA world rankings, in the quarter-finals in Munich (9 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the European Football Championship, on ZDF and MagentaTV). If there is still no winner after 120 minutes, there is a penalty shoot-out and “Gigione”, as they call him, is particularly good at that.
The keeper parried an average of one out of three penalty kicks in the first five years of service at AC Milan. Donnarumma could become Italy’s match winner with this ability. In addition, it is not unlikely that he will get more busy than before at this tournament. Belgium with striker Romelu Lukaku, who plays for Milan’s local rivals Inter Milan, is feared for his offensive.
The only flaw in the career
In the Italian enthusiasm, the goalkeeper was the reason for the only dissonance so far. In the last group game against Wales, when the group victory had long been determined, Donnarumma was substituted one minute before the end of the game. Coach Mancini wanted to approve substitute goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu for at least a short period at the European Championships. When Donnarummas was replaced, piercing whistles echoed through the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, the criticism referred to the upcoming move to Paris. The team doctor from PSG is said to have examined Donnarumma during the EM.
The constant back and forth, the obvious contract poker, the haggling about big money, it’s the only flaw in the already glamorous career of the young goalkeeper, whose adviser managed to get brother Antonio to be the third goalkeeper at AC Milan. Donnarumma is considered a ruff tooth, especially by the Milanisti. At a U-21 game in Italy four years ago in Krakow, Tifosi threw copied banknotes at him. “Dollarumma” is what some call it. Consultant Raiola, who also represents stars like Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, has the strings in hand. But everyone is ultimately free to choose their advisor.
In terms of sport, Donnarumma is beyond any doubt.
The national team is therefore also a kind of biotope for the 22-year-old from Castellammare di Stabia near Naples, here it is primarily about sport and top marks. Against Austria, Donnarumma set the record set by goalkeeping legend Dino Zoff from 1974 and stayed 1169 minutes without conceding a goal. The “phenomenon between the posts” (Gazzetta dello Sport) did not look particularly good when Sasa Kalajdzic conceded a goal in the 114th minute, whose clever header went into the goalkeeper’s corner. Even when Marko Arnautovic’s goal was denied because of offside, Donnarumma was not ideal.
Goals: “World footballer and title with Italy”
Perhaps these mishaps are due to the fact that Italy’s goalkeeper is so little involved. Under coach Mancini, the regular defenders Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci stand at the center line if possible and keep the opponent at a distance, the rest of the team tries to press. The team only receives an average of 0.4 goals per game. The Gazzetta dello Sport therefore wrote of the “azure blue bunker”. However, Italy could run into problems against a countering team like Belgium.
Donnarumma’s parades would then be important. The 1.96 meter tall goalkeeper is excellent at parrying, and he also plays excellently with his feet. His peace of mind is particularly impressive. “My calm is my strength,” said Donnarumma once. It is said that the keeper is not afraid of anything except flying in an airplane. “But I’m just getting a grip on that,” he said with a smile days ago.
A comment by Achim Dreis
- Published / Updated:
- Published / Updated:
- Published / Updated:
It was his uncle who took him to soccer training when he was five. Even then it was clear that Donnarumma would one day goalkeeper. Posters of Italy legend Gianluigi Buffon and then Milan goalkeeper Dida hung over his bed. At 13 he moved to Milan and attended the club’s youth academy, at 16 he made his Serie A debut in the first team.