Thursday June 15 2017
Donnarumma: How did it come to this?

How did it come to be that rising star goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has opted against signing a new contract with Milan?

The 18-year-old came up through the Rossoneri youth system, and was given his debut at 16 by Sinisa Mihajlovic.

However, an increasingly bitter relationship between the new Diavolo owners and their goalkeeper’s agent, Mino Raiola, means he’ll continue his career elsewhere.

Football Italia charts the timeline that has seen Donnarumma go from emerging youth to wantaway star.

October 25, 2015 - Donnarumma’s debut

At the age of just 16, Donnarumma was thrown into the Milan first team for a match against Sassuolo at San Siro, with the Rossoneri winning 2-1.

The youngster kept his first clean sheet against Chievo three days later, and a star was born.

“If the club can return to its international appeal, I think he can be Milan’s new Buffon,” Raiola’s brother Vincenzo said on October 30. “If the crisis were to continue at Milan though, other decisions could be taken.”

November 2015 - The price tag goes up

Having seen his client firmly established as first-choice between the posts, Raiola began to talk-up his potential value.

“He’s a Modigliani, he is worth €170m,” the agent insisted in an interview with Premium Sport. “He’s already a small champion, but he can become a great champion.”

October 2016 - Raiola’s ownership doubts

After a series of delays to the proposed Chinese takeover of Milan, Raiola began to express doubts about the potential new regime.

“If it’s all done then why haven’t they put the money in yet?” he queried early in the 2016-17 season.

A few days later, rumours began to emerge that Raiola wanted guarantees before allowing his client to commit to Milan.

December 2016 - ‘Raiola is waiting’

“I hope and I think that he’ll stay in Milan,” CEO Adriano Galliani said when asked about Donnarumma in December last year. “Raiola wants to know what the ambitions and future of Milan are, and who the owners are.”

February 25, 2017 - Donnarumma turns 18

On February 25 this year, Donnarumma celebrated his 18th birthday, the age at which one comes of age in Italy.

He was now legally allowed to sign a professional contract with Milan. The countdown was on…

March 2017 - Raiola slams incoming owners

There are Chinese investors and Chinese investors, they are not all the same,” Raiola fumed when discussing Donnarumma on Radio Crc. “I don’t know the Milan buyers and so far these investors are just embarrassing.

“It doesn’t look like a positive image and I hope they can come in to do important things with Milan. I don’t believe it, though.”

May 2017 - Milan look for Plan B

With Donnarumma’s contract still unsigned, new CEO Marco Fassone began openly talking about a Plan B.

“We are clarifying the situation,” he told Mediaset Premium. “When I look at Donnarumma, I see in his eyes the desire to remain. What we cannot do is wait around.

"We need to give Montella his squad, we want to know if we’ve got a goalkeeper coming to the end of his contract or not.

“Mino Raiola is one of the best agents, so I wouldn’t criticise what he does. Gigio is a pillar for us to build the team around next season. We told him that and we told his agent.”

June 2017 - 11 clubs interested

With the season over, Milan fans hoped their goalkeeper would finally put pen to paper on a new deal, but Raiola was in no mood to reassure them.

“There are 11 top clubs which are interested in him,” the agent told Corriere dello Sport.

“If you ask me: ‘is there a chance Donnarumma will sign with Milan again?’ then the answer is yes.

“If you ask me: ‘is there a chance Donnarumma will leave Milan?’ the answer is yes.”

Monday June 12 - The breakdown

The Diavolo were growing increasingly frustrated, and reports claimed they had bypassed Raiola entirely to speak with Donnarumma.

That infuriated the player’s agent, who threatened to break off talks altogether. In hindsight, this may have been the moment the Rossoneri lost Donnarumma.

Today, June 15 - Donnarumma’s decision

“Raiola informed us that Donnarumma has made a definitive decision not to renew the contract with Milan. It is a definitive decision, made by the player,” said Fassone this afternoon, in a quickly scheduled Press conference.

“Naturally, the decision leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, but now we have to go forward and Milan go forward.”

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