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Thursday June 29 2017
Donnarumma redemption

If Gianluigi Donnarumma is ready to discuss a new Milan contract, should the fans forgive him? Giancarlo Rinaldi has some advice.

To err is human; to forgive, divine. It seems unlikely Alexander Pope had Milan in mind when he penned those words, but they remain appropriate for the situation the Rossoneri have found themselves in of late. Can they find it in their hearts to make peace with Gianluigi Donnarumma - a player who has presented them with the transfer torment of the summer so far? And, indeed, should they even consider doing so?

The problems all start, really, with kissing the badge. If I was a footballer’s agent, I would always advise them against doing so. Fans interpret it as an indication of love for a team as profound as their own, while clubs tend to see it as a signal that a contract extension should be a mere formality. Neither conclusion, unfortunately, is necessarily correct.

Both supporters and officials often suffer from a form of myopia which makes it difficult for them to see the bigger picture. They find it hard to fathom why any player could even consider leaving the club they love or work for - or possibly both. However, there are a myriad of reasons why someone might consider moving on from even the most successful and generous side.

And what has Donnarumma’s crime really been? In truth, we might never truly know, because we are caught in a crossfire of spin from club and agent which makes it hard to be sure what has actually unfolded so far. Without being privy to every conversation, we can only make conjecture based on the evidence before our eyes. The player could have signed a new deal with Milan, he declined to do so and it prompted one hell of a backlash. So much so that he is now set to sit back down with the club to talk about his future. It is not a promise that he will remain, but that scenario is much more likely than it once appeared.

It suits Milan’s agenda, of course, to portray him as a traitor and point the finger at his agent, Mino Raiola - an easy target if ever there was one. It plays well with supporters to act as if you have done everything in your power to accommodate a player who threw it back in your face. The fake dollars hurled at young Gigio ‘Dollarumma’ during the Under-21 European Championship confirmed some supporters had bought that hook, line and sinker.

What also hurts, of course, is for the Rossoneri to be shown up as perhaps not quite as big a club as they imagine themselves to be. Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s it would have been unthinkable that anyone might want to quit Milanello for anywhere else. Nowadays, while still a big name, they are not quite the giant they once were.

Those times can return, for sure, and that was part of the Donnarumma storyline. He was supposed to stay and become a legend and form the backbone of the team for decades to come. Except he did not welcome it with the open arms some expected, an attitude which has provoked social media ire for days on end.

But the club itself will have to make a more pragmatic choice. Suppose their big goalkeeper has now simply realised that he overplayed his hand a little and that a lucrative, long-term contract with the Rossoneri might make as much sense for him as it does for his employers. Should Milan forgive his initial hesitation and resistance?

It sets my mind flashing back nearly 30 years to the transfer deal which has stung me most in the history of the Italian game. Roberto Baggio was painted as a mercenary when he moved to Juventus from Fiorentina, but the story was much more subtle than those crude brushstrokes represented. I have little doubt the Donnarumma situation is just as complex. And, believe me, I would give anything for a world where the Divin Codino had stayed in purple for the vast majority of his playing days.

So maybe the Rossoneri should find it in themselves to swallow a little damaged pride and welcome their talented teenager with open arms, assuming he is now willing to remain. It might not work out, of course, because there are no guarantees in football, but his little flirt with leaving need not destroy their entire marriage.

Common sense would say that for both footballing and financial potential you should try to keep hold of one of your most valuable commodities, regardless of how you think they have behaved. Because, believe me, if you don’t, it can be the source of days, weeks, months and even years of regret.

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...
Any Milan supporter should feel slighted by his comments and his decisions. I don't know how you put up with this kind of disrespect. Let him run to Real and sit on the f'ng bench. Let him be a lesson to any Italian a'hole who is blinded by nothing but personal greed.
on the 30th June, 2017 at 2:00am
Fans might say "Who does he think he is?' but at the end of the day you have to admire his confidence. After all this is the thing which gave him the confidence to excel at such a young age and the thing that probably sets him apart from other "very talented young players". To be successful in anything let alone football is 90% about mental strength. For that reason alone I would like to see him stay around at Milan. This guy, unlike say Montolivo, might actually be a winner.
on the 30th June, 2017 at 12:34am
Usually the truth is far less interesting than the conjecture. I reckon what has happened is really quite boring. Basically one of Donnarumma's strengths is he's incredibly focused. When he went to the U21's he didn't want to focus on anything else but Italy. That's why he wouldn't discuss a contract. Milan wanted to get the team ready for pre-season and so insisted on an answer sooner. That's why negotiations broke down. Now that the U21's are finished he wants to sit down.
on the 30th June, 2017 at 12:32am
Donna Kebab made some big mistakes for Italy. He is overvalued and still needs to prove. When someone shoots close range, he tends to have slow reactions or has been flapping his hands around. Footwork has been a joke as he has conceded a goal. This Waiter Agent of his has worked magic in creating fake PR to boost his salary and ego.

I hope Donna kebab signs extension and we sell him after this year for 100million. He is not worth our problem.
on the 29th June, 2017 at 4:55pm
But after signing some excellent prospects in Kessie and Andre (and Conti to come) Milan need the leadership and glue of current players at least whilst everything settles.

For all the reasons Dami gave, a new contract with a release clause works out best for both parties, exactly what Donna and Mino wanted. Who knows, maybe he can be convinced to remain beyond 2018.
on the 29th June, 2017 at 4:23pm
Vic, uncomfortable facts huh, comments like yours do nothing for the debate.

Rosario, you're probably right, Radu looks full of potential and Bardi has been loaned out and Carizzo inexplicably brought in as deputy as No.2. However, that does not excuse Milan's behaviour in the affair.

If I was Donna and (before the signings started to come) I would have definitely wanted a release clause in my contract given the lack of clarity on ownership. But...
on the 29th June, 2017 at 4:10pm
I want him to sign, play his heart out for us this season and we can then cash in on him next summer.

This is the logical step for both parties. He won't get a starting spot at Madrid after his U21 Euros and he knows it. This gives Plizzari time to mature for another year and will give us a cash boost next season, when we will have UCL and really be able to attract top talent.
on the 29th June, 2017 at 2:50pm
@Interello. That decision has proved to be a masterstroke. Anyone who turns down Milan for Inter...cough cough Kondogbia is set for failure. That decision basically got Donnarumma to where he is today. Whilst neither club have done well during the period of him rejected Inter and now, there is no doubt that he wouldn't have had the serenity to develop like he has if at Inter. Endless coaches with differing philosophies have come and gone. He would probably be on loan somewhere.
on the 29th June, 2017 at 2:27pm
@Interello

You do realize how utterly biased your comments are considering you are a INTER fan. Ridiculous
on the 29th June, 2017 at 2:14pm
He's not even finished school and his agent is telling him he deserves millions right away and should be playing for Real Madrid, can you imagine what that does to a person? Raiola turns young players into brats, it happened with Balotelli, Robinho, Ibra and Pogba, and now Gigio.
on the 29th June, 2017 at 2:05pm
Should be advised by his family? That's the same family that renegaded on Inter to join Milan, who made a deceitful approach knowing full well Inter had agreed the deal.

According to the most earliest reports, all Donna and Mino asked for is a release clause (originally reported at 10m but corrected to 40m) in the new contract because they were unsure of the new owners. The right thing to do, contracts are between two parties also, some fans seem to forget that.
on the 29th June, 2017 at 12:14pm
Donnarumma is a child basically, so he should have been advised by his family (and not a greedy fat agent) to behave like a decent guy in this matter. For starters, dont do things you dont feel like kissing the shirt/badge, and after that, if you really appreciate the club that launch you into fame taking a risk at 16 years old, the least one can expect is to announce yourself (again, not a fat gold digger agent) your decision, and not trying to win time for you only to get a better deal
on the 29th June, 2017 at 11:37am
Viktor, that's what a spanish sports show reported with a hopeful tone. Football Italia just made it sound real so you and others like myself click on the link and read it. Until it's all said and done, anything that hasn't come out of the mouths of all parties involved is made up.
on the 29th June, 2017 at 11:12am
on potentially 5 million euros wages at age 18 he really isn't a long term option for milan to retain. It doesn't say a lot about his character not to push through a renewal at the first time of asking either. Milan really should have sold him already there is no guarantee for a renewal and the club is missing out on buying a alternative. Having said that if milan can give him a second chance so can i as fan until he proves otherwise. still i won't be rushing out to buy his jersey.
on the 29th June, 2017 at 10:19am
If he have sacked Raiola and blamed him for all this saga, then the fans might've forgiven him, but after his last tweet he showed his true ugly face, Raiola and him are one in this decision, no one forced him, and he is an ugrateful traitor who doesnt deserve to be forgiven, for now we can act like he is one of our own, just so he can sign the contract, after that for all i care Milan should sign a new GK and let him rot in the stands until we cash in on him, he's unworthy of the Milan shirt
on the 29th June, 2017 at 10:07am
In short, no! What was most disappointed was him not telling the club directly of his 'decision' & instead doing it thru his agent. Regardless of his worth, Milan took a massive leap of faith when promoting him at such a young age. The least he could've done was tell the club face2face. His manner on social media also suggests that he will only become more of a problem in months / years to come. Personally, I would get rid immediately. Potentially a poisonous character in the dressing room!
on the 29th June, 2017 at 9:33am
So I read this article yesterday where we would accept donnarumma to stay for another season BUT with a clause that he could go for low cash to real next season...

That sounds inrcredible absurd. Let me remind you that he is STILL a milan player and where he goes and to what price WE decide. In 12 month from now, well that's a different story.
on the 29th June, 2017 at 8:50am

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