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How brilliant is Paris signing Gianluigi Donnarumma?

The hero of Italy's UEFA EURO 2020 triumph has joined Paris Saint-Germain: a salute to the goalkeeping star.

New Paris signing Gianluigi Donnarumma
New Paris signing Gianluigi Donnarumma Getty Images

UEFA EURO 2020 Player of the Tournament Gianluigi Donnarumma has joined Paris Saint-Germain as a free agent after leaving AC Milan at the end of last season.

The 22-year-old can now make his UEFA Champions League debut in the 2021/22 campaign. Trust us: he's ready.

What they say

"He can have an extraordinary career. He has to think about developing calmly and avoid being put under pressure to be among the big players, though the fact that he made his AC Milan debut at 16 and dealt with that pressure is a huge positive sign. He made his debut a year younger than me. I wish him well with all my heart."
Gianluigi Buffon, former Italy goalkeeper

"Donnarumma is proving to be a great goalkeeper. He deserves to be at a top European club. He deserves to be playing to win the Champions League, which is our goal. I'm happy for him and for the team: he will bring us a lot."
Marco Verratti, Paris and Italy midfielder

"He is the best goalkeeper in the world, but no, I will not tell him that."
Zlatan Ibrahimović, Milan forward

Italy vs England: The full penalty shoot-out
Italy vs England: The full penalty shoot-out

"What did I think after Jorginho’s penalty was saved in the EURO 2020 final? That we had Gigione."
Giorgio Chiellini, Italy defender

“We are very fortunate to have Donnarumma. I was sure he was going to save a couple of penalties because he is the best goalkeeper in the world. He really is a wonderful guy and incredible goalkeeper.”
Roberto Mancini, Italy coach

"He is a symbol and a model for others. The player who came from the academy team and I think he is now the best goalkeeper in the world."
Paolo Maldini, ex-Milan and Italy defender

Appearances

International: 33
UEFA club competition: 22
European domestic competition: 229

(correct as of 14 July 2021)

Claims to fame

AC Milan

Donnarumma making his Serie A debut in October 2015
Donnarumma making his Serie A debut in October 2015Getty Images

• Having played in the age group above his own during his time at the Milan academy, Donnarumma was called up to the senior team for the first time in February 2015, three days before his 16th birthday. He had to have special dispensation to appear on the substitute’s bench. He signed his first professional contract the following month.

• At the age of 16 years and 242 days, Donnarumma became the second youngest goalkeeper to start in a Serie A game when he featured against Sassuolo on 25 October 2015. The youngest No1, Giuseppe Secchi, was 13 days his junior when he made his Milan debut exactly 73 years earlier.

• He saved the first penalty of his professional career on 21 August 2016, stopping Andrea Belotti's shot in added time to earn Milan a 3-2 home win against Torino.

• Donnarumma kept clean sheets in his first three UEFA club competition games, back-to-back 2017/18 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round wins against CSU Craiova followed by a 6-0 win against North Macedonia's Shkëndija in the play-off opener.

• Became the youngest player to reach 100 Serie A appearances, aged 19 years and 49 days, when he kept a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw against Napoli on 15 April 2018.

• Captained Milan for the first time in his 200th game for the club, a 2-1 Serie A win at Sassuolo on 21 July 2020, picking up the armband after Alessio Romagnoli came off injured.

• Was named Serie A Goalkeeper of the Season in successive campaigns, in 2019/20 and 2020/21. His AC Milan contract expired at the end of the latter campaign, Donnarumma having helped them finish second and return to the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time since 2013/14.

Paris Saint-Germain
• Three days after helping Italy win UEFA EURO 2020 and being named Player of the Tournament, signed a five-year deal with Paris.

UEFA EURO 2020 Player of the Tournament: Gianluigi Donnarumma
UEFA EURO 2020 Player of the Tournament: Gianluigi Donnarumma

Italy
• Italy's first-choice keeper at the 2015 UEFA European Under-17 Championship, he made his debut for the U21s the following summer in a 4-1 win against the Republic of Ireland. At 17 years and 28 days, he was the youngest player ever to feature for Italy at that level.

• Became the Italy senior side's youngest ever goalkeeper, aged 17 years and 189 days, when he replaced Gianluigi Buffon at half-time in a 3-1 friendly defeat against France on 1 September 2016. He then became – at 18 years and 31 days – the youngest keeper to start for Italy in a 2-1 win against the Netherlands in March 2017.

At UEFA EURO 2020, became the first goalkeeper to be named Player of the Tournament after helping Italy to win penalty shoot-outs against Spain in the semi-final (saving once), and England in the final (saving twice). "I did not celebrate immediately [after saving the decisive penalty in the final shoot-out] because I did not understand that we had won," he said. "When I saw my team-mates running towards me it was an explosion of joy.”

What you might not know

Donnarumma during Milan's 2015 shoot-out against Real Madrid in Shanghai
Donnarumma during Milan's 2015 shoot-out against Real Madrid in ShanghaiGetty Images

• At 11, Donnarumma was reportedly 1.90m tall and was so much bigger than his contemporaries that his mother Marinella had to bring his birth certificate to training to prove his age.

• Gianluigi is not the only goalkeeper in the Donnarumma family; his older brother Antonio also went through the AC Milan academy and was Gianluigi's team-mate at San Siro from 2017 to 2021. Antonio rarely played for the senior team, but has never conceded a goal in the Rossoneri shirt.

• The Donnarumma family are from Castellammare di Stabia, a city of 60,000 people close to Naples in the south of Italy which has produced a lot of Serie A goalkeepers in recent years: the two Donnarummas plus Antonio Mirante, Alfonso De Lucia and Gennaro Iezzo. "The secret is goalkeeping coach Ernesto Ferrara [who died in 2018]," Iezzo explained. "A true man of sport."

Gianluigi and Antonio Donnarumma during their time in Milan
Gianluigi and Antonio Donnarumma during their time in MilanAFP via Getty Images

• Napoli picked up Gianluigi as a youngster, but he moved to AC Milan aged 2014, having supported the club since childhood. "At 13 I left my home area of Campania," he remembered. "My mum was crying. Three friends came with me because they had also signed for Milan. I was excited. We were in a boarding house; I shared a room with my friend from Castellammare. It was hard to wake up and not be at home. I really missed home. A few tears fell."

• His relationship with penalty shoot-outs hasn't always been a positive one; Donnarumma made his senior club debut as a substitute in a friendly against Real Madrid in China on 30 July 2015. The game was decided on penalties, with Donnarumma saving from Toni Kroos but missing from the spot as his side lost 10-9. He made amends the following month, saving twice in a shoot-out against Sassuolo as Milan won the pre-season TIM Trophy.

• Then-Bayern coach Pep Guardiola saw Donnarumma that summer during another friendly game, and went up Milan's boss Siniša Mihajlović at full-time to tell him: "He is phenomenal."

• UEFA EURO 2020 was the first major trophy Donnarumma had won as a player; his biggest achievement with Milan was winning the Italian Super Cup in 2016.

Gianluigi Buffon and Donnarumma: 'You have to take from the best'
Gianluigi Buffon and Donnarumma: 'You have to take from the best'AFP via Getty Images

Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was one of his heroes growing up: "I met Buffon in the national team where I also had the good fortune to play with him. I watched him carefully, I always try to 'steal' something from him. If you want to aim for a high level, you have to take from the best. Buffon's calmness always surprises me."

What he says

Donnarumma: 'It's an incredible dream'
Donnarumma: 'It's an incredible dream'

"I hope to play for as long as possible, maybe up to 40 because football is my great passion. My main goal is obviously to win as many trophies as I can, especially with the national team. My dream then remains to win the Ballon d'Or and obviously I will do my best to do it."

"Peace of mind has always been my strength, but experience helps a lot. Both when things are good and when they are bad."

"Seeing [Manuel] Neuer doing crazy things outside the box makes you want to imitate him. It is important for a goalkeeper to improve in this respect and to help the team in possession. Talking is also essential because that way you can give a lot of confidence to your team and to the defence in particular. As a goalkeeper, you can also see the whole game.

(On joining Paris) "I am delighted to be part of this huge club. I feel ready to take on this new challenge and continue to grow here. With Paris, I want to win as much as possible and to bring joy to the supporters."