Sunday July 11, 2021. 11:54 p.m. French time. In the lair of Wembley, which has just regained hope after Jorginho’s failed shot on goal, Gianluigi Donnarumma decides to put an end to it. Definitely. How? ‘Or’ What ? By swinging his carcass of a meter 96 on his left and stopping the strike of the poor Bukayo Saka. Italy is European champion. But he gets up and walks, as if nothing had happened. As if to go and take a stand before the next shot on goal. To believe that he does not have enough and that he could still stop.
He then glances at the referee, sees his teammates rushing towards him but continues to walk, gazing straight ahead. Not a smile or a clenched fist. In front of their television, the tifosi even end up having a doubt. Are they really champions? Or did their guardian just not realize the session was over? To the first question, the answer is yes. But in the second too.
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« In fact, I just didn’t understand, confessed the porter the next day to Sky Italia. I swear to you that is true. I even thought we lost on Jorginho’s shot on goal. Then I looked at the referee, as there is now the story of VAR with my foot stuck to the line. When I then saw my teammates coming towards me. I understood that we had won. « And that’s when he let go completely and (finally) exulted as he should. In the process, he won the player’s trophy of Euro 2020, just before lifting the Cup. Europe. All at only 22. « Gigio », the precocious kid from Castellammare di Stabia, propelled Italy onto the roof of Europe. Enough to polish its image and make you forget the soap opera several episodes of its no -extension with AC Milan?
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For his part, the person therefore started the Euro as a player at the end of his contract. Then he ended him, officially, as a player without a club, even though everything was unofficially done with Paris. Unperturbed, he never reacted to the criticisms of the Milanese tifosi on social networks, pushing them away like a vulgar penalty shootout from an English player. On the other side of the Alps, in Milan, it is still difficult to accept his departure. Even more after his performances in mondovision, of course. But not so much for the substance of his choice (although …), legitimate to each. But more for its form. Leaving the club that made him grow up is one thing. Doing it at the end of the contract, when its value is 60 million euros according to the Transfermarkt site, is another.
« Euro only increased the anger of Milan tifosi, explains Antonio Vitiello, daily journalist Tuttosport and on the site MilanNews.it. They did not need this competition to understand that they had lost a phenomenon. But they feel betrayed. The Milan tifoso is very disappointed, there is no doubt. He said to himself: « Damn, we had one of the best goalkeepers in the world and, through his fault and his choice not to extend, we lost him ». It’s not easy to accept, especially by the way he does things. «
« Dollarumma »
« Some choices are difficult, but they are part of growing a man. I arrived at AC Milan when I was little more than a child, for eight years I wore this jersey with pride. (…) Now the time has come to say goodbye, a choice that was not easy. (…) Sometimes it’s just to choose to change, to take on different challenges, to grow, to complement each other« , wrote the guard, already been there in the summer of 2017. Mino Raiola, his agent, already wanted to send him to Paris. But faced with the will of the person concerned and his entourage, he had gone to bed. Not this time.On social networks, his former tifosi did not hesitate to write him « Dollarumma » under his message, convinced that the latter only bends down for a question of (r) gent.
« If the club had still missed qualification in the Champions League this season, its choice could have been understood. But there, after seven years of absence, Milan will make a comeback. Donnarumma played a leading role in it, what is more. He’s been playing for the first team since he was 16, he’s had some tough times and he’s been waiting, like everyone else, for this moment for a long time. Frankly, from a sporting point of view, it is difficult to understand …« , confides a regular at Milanello. What if it had to be done again? »The highest offer made to him amounted to 8 million euros. Then he was tempted to limit the damage with a short-term contract. Demand did not budge and hovered around 12 million. The club has limits and a rather clear course of action. We didn’t need the Euro to realize his talent. «
In the Italian media, Donnarumma was quickly erected as one of the great men of this Euro. « He played a perfect tournament. The penalties imposed in Morata, Sancho and Saka have allowed the country to climb onto the roof of Europe. But he had already done miracles before, especially on De Bruyne (…) On the Paris side, we rub our hands« , wrote The Gazzetta dello Sport, Tuesday, when drawing up the Azzurri notebook. For the now ex-Milanese porter: 9.5 out of 10.
« Public opinion does not have the same feeling of betrayal that Milan supporters can have, who took a break during some Euro matches but never really forgot« , assures Antonio Vitiello. But with his major role in this historic success, Donnarumma has offered himself a place in the pantheon of Italian football. » He officially enters the calendar of our holy goalkeepers, where we venerate Zoff and Buffon « . , could we even read in the columns of The Gazzetta dello Sport. That is to say…
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For « Gigio » in the hands of silver, there will be a before and after Euro. Regardless of the rest of his career, he will be remembered as the one who helped La Nazionale win their second European Cup after 1958. « But he was not forgiven for all that, tells us another Italian journalist, preferring to remain anonymous. In general, people do not understand that he leaves a club that he says he loves so much without making any profit. This is something that has not been appreciated by the whole world of Italian football. Not just the tifosi from Milan. Let’s say that with the penalties set in the final, people have closed an eye on what happened. There was a sort of truce. His judgments will remain in the collective memory forever. But as soon as he starts playing at PSG, I think that his esteem will drop a little and that he will not really be chosen as an example to follow. There was a lack of respect for the club that made him grow. He had the right to leave, obviously, but not like that. «
To judge his popularity, Donnarumma will not have to wait for polls like a politician before an election. The appointment is given at the beginning of September in Florence, during the first outing of the European champion Nazionale against Bulgaria, as part of the qualifications for the World Cup. A little over a month later (October 6), the life-size test: Italy-Spain, in the Nations League, which will take place in … Milan. It’s coming home, too.
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