Gianluigi Donnarumma “received many offers and gave up on a lot in order to stay at my home,” explaining the Milan contract was “not about money.”
The goalkeeper was at the centre of a soap opera this summer when initially refusing to sign a new contract, then changing his mind amid fan protests, including some who threw fake dollars at him during an Italy game.
“Let’s just say that I don’t think about money at all. I want to relax, enjoy my life with my family and my girlfriend. Money is secondary,” the 18-year-old told the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
“In all honesty, at that moment during the Under-21 game, I didn’t even realise they had thrown dollars. I could hear shouting, but I only noticed after the game had finished, when I saw the video footage. I was upset. At that moment I only wanted to focus on the Euros and I was sorry the fans felt I had betrayed them.
“I received many offers, I’ll admit that, and gave up on a lot in order to stay at what I consider to be my home. At that time, I wanted to be concentrated only on the European Under-21 Championship, which was about to begin. I was 18 years old, it was a moment that could prove decisive in my career.
“I didn’t have the right mindset to decide on such a big contract, so I wanted to wait until at least the end of the tournament. I could’ve earned more, but it wasn’t an issue of money. During the Euros, absolute chaos erupted around my decision and it really hurt.
"Paris Saint-Germain or Real Madrid? In all honesty, I wasn't thinking about any other club, I was only focused on Milan.
“I was a little worried at returning to San Siro, I’ll admit that, and was a bit pessimistic about how the crowd would react. Instead they were great, giving me the exact same welcome as last season.”
Donnarumma was attacked viciously during social media, but some went even further and left false negative reviews of his family’s restaurant.
“If it had just been about football, that wouldn’t have been a problem, but there were opinions on my family and some very mean things were said that upset my folks.”
Is it true that Coach Vincenzo Montella – who is from the same area as Donnarumma – proved decisive by visiting the goalkeeper’s family?
“It was just a coffee, not much else. They didn’t talk about the transfer market. I have a really good rapport with the Coach, we always joke around in Neapolitan dialect. It’s true, with his experience leaving home young, he could understand my situation better than anyone else.”