On Wednesday night AC Milan were due to face off against Hellas Verona in the Round of 16 of the Coppa Italia. Before the game had even begun, there was controversy in the stands of the San Siro. During the pre-match warm up the AC Milan ultras (Fossa dei Leoni) unfurled a giant banner aimed at their 18-year-old goalkeeper, Gianluigi Donnarumma.
The banner read: “Moral Violence, 6 million per year, and the signing of a parasite brother? Now get out, the patience is over!”.
Enough is enough
The statement made by members of the ‘Curva Sud’ ultra-group is a clear sign that their patience has run out and they want Donnarumma gone from the club. This has stemmed from an ongoing battle between the players agent and the club regarding Donnarumma’s contract situation.
Reports across Italy have suggested that Donnarumma is currently in a contract dispute with the club and has advised his agent, Mino Raiola, that he wants to secure a move away from the Italian capital in the January transfer window.
It was widely reported last summer that the goalkeeper was anchoring for a move away only to pledge his allegiance to the ‘Rossoneri’ by signing a new deal in June that would keep him at the club until 2021. Fast forward six months and it now seems his head has been turned once more.
This is not the first time he has been confronted by fans of his home nation after a group of Azzurri supporters hurled fake dollar notes at the shot stopper during a match versus Denmark at last summers under 21 European Championships. This was following the news that the sought-after keeper was set to leave AC Milan.
Although still at a young age of 18, Donnarumma has already been embroiled in his fair share of altercations on an international level and it can’t be ignored the part his agent has had to play in this.
Mino Raiola has got a reputation for being somewhat of a controversial figure and currently represents some of the worlds most flamboyant players in the shape of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Mario Balotelli. Raiola made a name for himself by assisting in the transfers of high profile Dutch players to Italian clubs before spearheading a world record transfer fee for Paul Pogba from Juventus to Manchester United last year, earning a reported fee of £25m of the £105m deal. The Italian was also the agent involved in brokering the sale of Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United last summer.
What looks on paper like a clear case of a player wanting to leave a club in order to join another, the history of Raiola’s dealings and his track record suggest there may be much more involved. With clubs such as Real Madrid, Paris St Germain and Manchester United all said to be interested in acquiring Donnarumma’s services, it begs the question, is Raiola looking out for the best interest of his client or can he sense another big pay day lurking around the corner?
What next for Donnarumma?
On Wednesday, Donnarumma was pictured being consoled by teammate Leonardo Bonucci in the dressing rooms of the 80,000-seater stadium prior to the routine 3-0 defeat of Verona. Reduced to tears a mere two years after announcing himself on the scene as a sixteen-year-old wonderkid to the Milan faithful.
With Milan board members refusing to sell and an agent seemingly forcing his hand to leave, Donnarumma now looks to be facing one of the biggest decisions of his life. Does he choose to stay at a club where the fans detest him? Or is he now ready to say his final goodbye and move on to pastures new.
One thing is for certain, Donnarumma will not be short on suitors and ability wise looks to have the world at his feet. It remains to be seen whether he will ultimately be the one to suffer in the years ahead.
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