UEFA EURO 2020 tournament player Gianluigi Donnarumma has joined Paris Saint-Germain as a free agent after leaving AC Milan at the end of last season.
The 22-year-old can now make his UEFA Champions League debut in the 2021/22 campaign. Trust us: it’s ready.
What they say
“He can have an amazing career. He has to think about developing calmly and not being put under pressure to be a big player, despite the fact that he made his AC Milan debut at 16 and handling that pressure is a huge positive sign. He made his debut a year younger than me. I wish him the best of luck with all my heart. “
Gianluigi Buffon, former Italian goalkeeper
“Donnarumma turns out to be a great goalkeeper. He deserves to be at a great European club. He deserves to play to win the Champions League, which is our goal. I’m happy for him and for the team: he will bring us a lot. “
Marco Verratti, Parisian and Italian midfielder
“He’s the best goalie in the world, but no, I won’t tell him that.”
Zlatan Ibrahimović, Milan striker
“What did I think after Jorginho’s penalty was saved in the EURO 2020 final? That we had Gigione.”
Giorgio Chiellini, Italian defender
“We are very lucky to have Donnarumma. I was sure he was going to save some penalties because he’s the best goalie in the world. He’s a really great guy and an amazing goalie.
Roberto Mancini, Italy coach
“He is a symbol and a role model for others. The player who came from the academy team and I think he is now the best goalkeeper in the world.”
Paolo Maldini, former defender of Milan and Italy
UEFA club competition: 22
European domestic competition: 229
(correct as of July 14, 2021)
Claim to fame
• Having played in the older age bracket during his stint at the academy in Milan, Donnarumma was first called up to the senior squad in February 2015, three days before his 16th birthday. He had to have a special dispensation to appear on the substitute bench. He signs his first professional contract the following month.
• At the age of 16 years and 242 days, Donnarumma became the second youngest goalkeeper to appear in a Serie A game when he faced Sassuolo on October 25, 2015. Youngest No.1 Giuseppe Secchi, was 13 days younger when he entered. Milan made their debut exactly 73 years earlier.
• Saved the first penalty of his professional career on August 21, 2016, stopping Andrea Belotti’s shot in added time to allow Milan to win 3-2 at home against Turin.
• Donnarumma kept his clean sheet in his first three matches in UEFA club competitions, back-to-back wins in the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round against CSU Craiova, followed by a 6- victory. 0 against North Macedonians Shkëndija in the opening play-off match.
• Became the youngest player to reach 100 Serie A appearances, at 19 years and 49 days old, when he kept his clean sheet in a 0-0 draw against Napoli on April 15, 2018.
• Milan captain for the first time in his 200th game for the club, a 2-1 Serie A victory at Sassuolo on July 21, 2020, recovering the armband after Alessio Romagnoli suffered an injury.
• Was named Serie A Goalkeeper of the Season in successive campaigns, in 2019/20 and 2020/21. Their contract with AC Milan expired at the end of this last campaign, with Donnarumma helping them to finish second and return to the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time since 2013/14.
Paris Saint Germain
• Three days after helping Italy win UEFA EURO 2020 and being named Player of the Tournament, signed a five-year contract with Paris.
• Italy’s goaltender par excellence at the 2015 UEFA European Under-17 Championship, made his Under-21 debut the following summer in a 4-1 victory over Republic from Ireland. At 17 years and 28 days old, he was the youngest player to have played for Italy at this level.
• Became the youngest goalkeeper of the senior Italian team, at 17 years and 189 days, when he replaced Gianluigi Buffon at half-time in a friendly 3-1 loss to France on September 1, 2016 He went on to become – at 18 years and 31 days – the youngest starting goalkeeper for Italy in a 2-1 win over the Netherlands in March 2017.
• At UEFA EURO 2020, became the first goalkeeper to be named Player of the Tournament after helping Italy win penalties against Spain in the semi-final (saving once) and England in the final (saving twice). “I didn’t celebrate right away [after saving the decisive penalty in the final shoot-out] because I didn’t understand that we had won, “he said.” When I saw my teammates running towards me, it was an explosion of joy. “
What you might not know
• At 11 years old, Donnarumma was 1.90m tall and was so much taller than his contemporaries that his mother Marinella had to bring her birth certificate to training to prove her age.
• Gianluigi is not the sole keeper of the Donnarumma family; his older brother Antonio also went through the academy of AC Milan and was Gianluigi’s teammate at San Siro from 2017 to 2021. Antonio rarely played for the senior team, but never conceded a goal under the Rossoneri jersey.
• The Donnarumma family hails from Castellammare di Stabia, a town of 60,000 near Naples in southern Italy which has produced many Serie A goalkeepers in recent years: the two Donnarummas plus Antonio Mirante, Alfonso De Lucia and Gennaro Iezzo. “The secret is goalkeeper coach Ernesto Ferrara [who died in 2018]”, explained Iezzo.” A real sportsman. “
• Napoli chose Gianluigi in his youth, but he moved to AC Milan at the age of 2014, having supported the club since his childhood. “When I was 13, I left my native Campania region,” he recalls. “My mother was crying. Three friends came with me because they had also signed for Milan. I was excited. We were in a guesthouse; I shared a room with my friend from Castellammare. It was hard to wake up and of not being home. I really missed the house. A few tears fell. “
• His relationship with penalties has not always been positive; Donnarumma made his senior club debut as a substitute in a friendly against Real Madrid in China on July 30, 2015. The game was played on penalties. He made amends the following month, saving twice in a shootout against Sassuolo as Milan claimed the pre-season TIM Trophy.
• Then Bayern coach Pep Guardiola saw Donnarumma that summer in another friendly, and hitched up Milan boss Siniša Mihajlović full-time to tell him: “He’s phenomenal. “
• UEFA EURO 2020 was the first major trophy won by Donnarumma as a player; his biggest achievement with Milan was winning the Italian Supercup in 2016.
• Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was one of his heroes growing up: “I met Buffon in the national team where I also had the chance to play with him. I watched him carefully, I always tries to “steal” something from him. If you want to aim for the top level, you have to take the best. Buffon’s calm always surprises me. “
What he says
“I hope to play as long as possible, maybe up to 40 because football is my big passion. My main goal is obviously to win as many trophies as possible, especially with the national team. My dream then remains to win the Ballon d’Or and obviously I’ll do my best to do it. “
“Peace of mind has always been my strength, but the experience helps me a lot. Both when things are going well and when they are bad. “
“Seeing [Manuel] Neuer doing crazy things off the beaten track makes you want to emulate him. It is important for a goalkeeper to improve in this regard and to help the team in possession. Speaking is also essential because this way you can give a lot of confidence to your team and the defense in particular. As the goalkeeper you can also see the whole game.
(By joining Paris) “I am delighted to be part of this huge club. I feel ready to take on this new challenge and continue to grow here. With Paris, I want to win as much as possible and bring joy to the supporters.”