No matter if the club is the New York Red Bulls, Barcelona, Forest Green Rovers or even AC Milan - no player is ever bigger than the club they play for. The club that made them - the club that pays their wages.
Gigio Donnarumma might learn this lesson the harsh way.
After Donnarumma’s agent Mino Raiola and Donnarumma rejected Milan’s latest offer (one that would have made the 18 year old one of the world’s highest paid goalkeepers), Gigio’s future at Milan is very uncertain and it looks very clear that he might be heading for the door.
Milan’s leadership team are said to feel extremely disrespected by the actions of Raiola, and will certainly be reeling from the decision to reject the contract. It looks like Milan will refuse to sell Donnarumma and let him go at the end of the season. It remains to be seen if they will follow through on their threat to bench the youngster.
Gigio and Raiola certainly had the right to ask for high pay - and they would have got it, it seems like the stickler was a release clause for a low fee should Milan not qualify for the Champions League next season. Milan certainly should not be held to ransom - not by the world’s best footballers and certainly not an 18 year-old goalkeeper, regardless of their talent.
Despite the news, it did come as a shock - the contract would have guaranteed Donnarumma a high weekly wage and a sale at some point. It’s very hard to see a good reason for turning this deal down, especially with Donnarumma being a supporter of Milan. A team which has given him everything. We know loyalty isn’t much of a concept in football, and that a footballer’s time on the job is limited, but still - Gigio’s career might hang in the balance here. Who knows if he’ll get the same chances that he has been gifted at Milan? Goalkeeping isn’t a safe position and a run of mistakes can ruin a career. Milan have backed Gigio - despite a few errors that would have seen anyone else benched, for sure.
It would be good for both parties if Donnarumma stayed - but he’s opened the door for an equally talented keeper to come through. Alessandro Plizzari could be the next big thing - and Donnarumma might watch the 17 year-old succeed in his stead. If Plizzari comes through and helps Milan qualify for the Champions League, Gigio will be in a tough position and might sign a contract only to be the understudy to another goalkeeper. He could avoid all of this by staying - his future is clear at Milan.
As for the fans? We should not hate - we need not worry. We have Plizzari, we have cash. We’ll see success one day - maybe, with or without Gigio. If Milan aren’t good enough for Donnarumma, Donnarumma is not good enough for Milan, and we should wave goodbye.