Gigio finds England to return to number one

Best player of the European Championship, Gigio has lived through the toughest season, but he is finding himself. One year after Saka …

Tomorrow Gigio Donnarumma will save England again. The last time he did it, 334 days ago, we became European champions. We will long remember the grimace of slight bewilderment after the decisive penalty saved to Saka in the final. Like when the teacher asks you something you don’t know. His teammates, who ran to meet him euphoric, suggested the answer: we had won, we were champions. Donnarumma was elected best player of the tournament. The best of all, including those who only played with their feet. From that moment, from the roof of Europe, Gigi began a slow descent. The transition to the ambitious Paris Saint Germain proved more complicated than expected. Throughout the season, Mauricio Pochettino, coach of the Parisians, kept him in balance with Keylor Navas, who was supported by the powerful South American soul of the locker room. A weary swing. Overall, Gigio had a good year, but drove at the worst moment. The clumsy disengagement of the foot at the Bernabeu started the comeback of Real Madrid which led to the elimination of PSG from the knockout stages of the Champions League. Real would have celebrated their triumph in Paris and, under Donnarumma’s nose, Thibaut Courtois would have been awarded as the best player of the final. While in Italy, the award for the best Serie A goalkeeper went to Mike Maignan. Another pinch of pride.

Courtois and Maignan

Gigio left Milan, pursued by accusations of ingratitude and greed, without leaving nostalgia: his successor became the hero of the Scudetto. Courtois, defeated at the European Championship, and Maignan: a year later, the best became the others. The tensions of a complicated season also affected his blue performance. From November 2020 to June 2021, Gigio lined up 9 clean sheets. In the last 9 games he has kept the door closed only once, against Lithuania. The Nations League semi-final played in October at San Siro is exemplary: booed by his former fans, he risked a sensational own goal. Against Spain at the European Championship, he was one of the first heroes, with the decisive save on Morata’s penalty. No less exemplary of the fate that has turned its back on him is the low shot of the Macedonian Trajkovski who pocketed the fatal corner: one centimeter further on would have been pole, one more in here saved.


But even in adversity, such as in early onset, Donnarumma has shown a maturity beyond age. Let’s not forget that he is still a 23 year old boy. He lived with balance the challenge with Navas, the controversies, the acid tweets of the AC Milan fans, the ducks, he parried the pain of the death of his friend-manager Mino Raiola and, in the season finale, the wheel of fate seems to have changed towards. Navas still promises battle, but PSG seems to have finally chosen to bet on the Italian. In the disappointing Wembley Final, Gigio was the best of the Azzurri, bouncing Messi several times. He also saved well against Germany and Hungary. The captain’s armband gave him further self-esteem. In the national team of rookies and experiments, Donnarumma is the only fixed point, excluded from the rotations. The coach Mancini crowned him again: “For me Gigio remains the number one in the world”. Tomorrow, in Wolverhampton, against England, he wants to prove himself as such. one year after the glorious penalty saved in Saka. Good goalkeepers, on the other hand, do this: when they go ashore, they get up quickly.

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