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The tragic tale of Donnarumma: From a symbol of Milan to a potential FFP sacrifice

How did it go so wrong for the young goalkeeper?

AC Milan v FC Internazionale - Serie A
Gigio Donnarumma
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Gianluigi Donnarumma is reportedly on his way to PSG, as Milan’s former technical director Leonardo, is looking to make a deal for the AC Milan goalkeeper. This is a transfer that until a couple of years ago would have been unimaginable. What happened in the last 2 years? Let’s start from the beginning.

Gigio made his debut with the AC Milan jersey when he was only 16 years old against Sassuolo when Siniša Mihajlović was still sitting on the bench. In a very short time the Italy national team goalkeeper has amazed both everyone in Serie A and beyond, establishing itself as one of the best prospects in the last 20 years. This success was mainly due to his incredible athletic skills. In fact, at the age of 16-17 Donnarumma already had the physical structure of a twenty-five year old colleague. From a technical point of view, he still had some shortcomings that were thought to have been filled in the following years. Unfortunately, this was not the case.

Everything stopped just 2 years ago during the negotiation of his contract between Milan and his agent Raiola. Just at the age of 18, the rossoneri offered a great contract to the goalkeeper, that would reportedly pay him about 4 million euros per year, a very significant investment for a player of that age. That kind of money was even too much for a player of that level and for a club like Milan at that time, and therefore had to be accepted instantly. Instead, from then on there was a grueling negotiation between the player and the club that really infuriated fans, many teammates and even former Rossoneri.

The Portiere of Castellammare di Stabia showed on that occasion neither to be a future champion nor to be attached to the Milan jersey, as opposed to symbolic players of the past as Maldini or Baresi. Unfortunately for Milan, the past management of Fassone & Mirabelli, who left the club in it’s current disastrous financial situation, accepted the salary request by Mino Raiola of €6 million per year for Donnarumma, instead of rejecting it.

This was one of the worst wrong choice by the club. In fact, not only was the player much more paid than he was supposed to be, bringing down the budget of AC Milan in a preponderant manner, but this resulted in putting a lot of pressure on Gigio when he was still too young. The expectations from everyone were really too much for the player who failed to meet them. The relationship with the fans began to crack, and he was started to be treated by some as a real mercenary. From that moment on it was a sequence of mistakes (papere), one after the other during many important games. His value has quickly halved and with the current financial situation, it might be necessary to sell him to balance the books.

Will he be able to fulfill his promise with the PSG (or any other team) and return to being one of the biggest prospects of world football or is he now doomed to the same fate as his compatriots and former milanisti Cassano and Balotelli?