A lot of people will be angry at Gianluigi Donnarumma on Tuesday when he plays AC Milan at the San Siro for the first time since leaving for Paris Saint-Germain and becoming the public’s worst enemy.
When Donnarumma left Milan as a free agent a little over two years ago, fans were furious. The seven-time European winners had to pay a lot of money for a custodian who was thought to be one of the best, if not the best, in the world at the time.
In the past few seasons, Milan has lost other players in this way, including Franck Kessie, a defender who helped win the Serie A title, but Donnarumma was the worst.
The Italy custodian joined Milan when he was 14 years old and made the first team when he was 16. He had spoken many times about how much he loved the club, which led fans to think that he would stay there like Gianluigi Buffon did at Juventus.
Instead, after months of talks, he wouldn’t give in on his wage demands and quit. He was replaced by Mike Maignan, a player from PSG’s school who was key to Milan winning their first title in 11 years in 2022.
But Maignan’s great play in goal didn’t make people feel less angry about being betrayed, and Donnarumma hasn’t been able to win over fans in Paris, where he went after leading Italy to victory in the European Championship.
When asked about complaints last month, Donnarumma told Mediaset, “It’s hard, but you need to get away from it.”
“Being human means that you read things on social media, but you need to take a break from it.”
“Mistakes happen, we’re not robots but the important thing is to work hard and push forward with the team.”
Donnarumma has been booed and whistled at all three times he has played at the San Siro with Italy in the last two years. The crowd of Milan fans made their feelings very clear, and it was clear that he would get a rough welcome if PSG ever came to town.
Last week, Milan’s most dedicated fans gave a sneak peek at how they plan to greet Donnarumma when he plays at the San Siro by posting a picture on Instagram of boxes with materials for a pre-game show that will almost certainly be directed at the 24-year-old.
With the team’s morale low after Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Udinese, which put them six points behind Serie A leaders Inter Milan, Milan fans will have an emotional night. Coach Stefano Pioli and the team will be booed off the pitch.
After Saturday’s loss, Pioli said, “I have everything I need to do a good job. If the results don’t come, it’s my fault.”
“I’ll work on how we play, but we can’t perform how we did against Udinese.”
Pioli’s team hasn’t scored a single goal in the Champions League yet, and they’ve only won one of their last six games in all competitions since October 1st. They’ve lost three, including last month’s 3-0 loss at the Parc des Princes.
Even though Milan is at the bottom of Group F, they can still make it to the round of 16 because they are only two points behind second-placed Dortmund, who host Newcastle in one of Tuesday’s two early games.
Pioli is worried about France fullback Theo Hernandez and starting right winger Christian Pulisic, but both should be able to play. Rade Krunic, on the other hand, is out with a leg injury and can’t play.
But because Milan hasn’t played much in recent weeks and because they might have a weak defence against Kylian Mbappe, AC fans are afraid that Donnarumma will get the last laugh.