Monday February 25 2019
Galliani: Happy birthday, Gigio!

Adriano Galliani has paid tribute to Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma on his 20th birthday. “I hope he remains Rossonero forever.”

Galliani was Milan’s CEO when Donnarumma made his breakthrough at the club, the Italy international going from dollar bills being thrown at him to surpassing 150 appearances for the Diavolo.

“First of all, happy birthday Gigio,” the 74-year-old told Milan News.

“My memory goes back to when we beat Inter thanks to the input of [then-Under 14 chief] Mauro Bianchessi, who insisted he was the goalkeeper of the future.

“I gave him the green light and we took him home. I’m very happy to have brought him to Milan and I hope he remains Rossonero forever.

“Absolutely [do I still hear from him]. I send him messages of good luck before he plays in big games. He knows I love him and he’s doing very well. It gives me great pride.

“Bianchessi pushed a lot to get him and when he, a talent scout and an extraordinary youth chief, insists something, it’s because he’s seen something important.

“After that, the reports and comments of the goalkeeping coaches in our youth sector made us understand that we’d signed a phenomenon.

“Today he’s one of the best goalkeepers in the world.”

Donnarumma was aged just 16 years and 242 days when Sinisa Mihajlovic handed him his competitive debut against Sassuolo in October 2015…

“In truth, no, because Gigio has always had great talent and he often played with teammates one or two years older than him,” explained Galliani.

“Therefore, it came as no surprise to me but it gave me great pride. I took it very well. How can we forget his role [in the Supercoppa victory]?

“He made a great save on Dybala’s penalty and then there was Pasalic’s winning goal. The 2016 Supercoppa in Doha, it was a beautiful moment.

“Milan also turn 120 this year, plus it’s the 50th anniversary of the 1969 European Cup victory, the 30th anniversary of the Final in Barcelona against Steaua and the 20th anniversary of the Scudetto in Perugia.

“Cudicini, Giovanni Galli, Abbiati… we have wonderful history [with homegrown goalkeepers] and it’s a common thread that leads us to the present day, or up to Gigio.”

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