Christian Abbiati believes Gianluigi Donnarumma “has all the qualities to be a future Milan captain”.
The 17-year-old has become the Rossoneri’s number one goalkeeper, and tonight he’ll celebrate the anniversary of his debut, against Torino.
“I see myself in Gigio, we’re quite similar temprementally,” Abbiati told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“He’s introverted, he doesn’t feel pressure. I’m not surprised by him, I saw him in training and I know his qualities, the only unknowns were the impact of San Siro and the weight of the starting shirt.
“Another complicated factor is consistency, but he has always remained focused. That’s how it is when the play is at the other end of the pitch, and within seconds the opponents can be in your box - you have to stay switched on.
“I knew right away he could have a great future, ever since I went to see him train with the Primavera. Even an idiot would have seen that he had above-average quality.
“I repeat, I can see myself in certain aspects of his character, I’d say he’s an atypical Neapolitan!
“He has a great family behind him, he has all the qualities to be a future Milan captain, but I stress the word future.
“Looking ahead he can do it, he has the right character. Right now it’s not very helpful to talk about it though. The armband brings pressure, I’ll tell you that from experience.”
Abbiati won just four Italy caps in his career thanks to the presence of Gianluigi Buffon, and he feels the next generation of goalkeepers could be similarly frustrated.
“As I’ve said, nothing surprises me about Gigio. Buffon is in fantastic shape, but after this there’s only Donnarumma.
“The other Italian goalkeepers are good, but they’re not at their level.”
The only concern then, would be Donnarumma leaving the club…
“I won’t get into talking about agents,” Abbiati said.
“I’ll just say I want to see him at Milan for a long time, because Milan have found a reference point.”