Dubbed the second coming of the legendary keeper, Gianluigi Buffon by many, Gianluigi Donnarumma is one of those players whose consistent form and performance defies any ready explanation. So even though his country, Italy, is not precisely favorites in the coming UEFA Euro 2020 games, they are very likely to go far, thanks in large part to the great things expected of this Italian 22-year old.
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How It Started For Gianluigi Donnarumma
This exemplary goalie joined Italian titans AC Milan nearly six years ago at the young age of 16. Unfortunately, for many players, joining such a fierce and well-established club does not leave much room for growth and time on the pitch as, more often than not, they tend to be used only when the favorites are indisposed. But when he joined the club and officially debuted in the Serie A league, he caused an immediate offset as he quickly proved that his talent was not the type that could be allowed to waste away on the sidelines. His presence, performance, and subsequent influence compelled the club’s starting lineup to change swiftly and make more than ample room for him.
It did not take much time for him to make a name for himself as one of the most promising goalkeepers, and he consequently shattered the previous record to become the youngest Italian Under-21 player to take to the pitch when he guarded the goal in March 2016. He was only 17 and a few days old at the time. Within six months, he got the official call to represent his country at the senior team level. With this invitation, he would earn himself the record of being the youngest goalkeeper to ever play for Italy, as he was still just 17 at the time of his international debut for the senior team.
Gianluigi Donnarumma Career In His Boyhood Club
Gianluigi Donnarumma has been pivotal to the success of AC Milan, and in turn, the club has reciprocated by helping him grow and better gain confidence behind the sticks. Born on the 25th of February 1999 in Castellammare di Stabia in Italy, Gianluigi Donnarumma broke into the starting eleven almost immediately. He got lifted to the first choice squad and was at the time the preferred keeper of choice after the likes of Diego Lopez and Christian Abbiati. His debut match here was against the formidable Real Madrid squad. Even though he was substituted towards the end of the game (72 minutes in), he ensured the net didn’t ripple behind him. But, unfortunately, he couldn’t score his penalty shoot-out, which was one of the things that ultimately led to the team’s loss.
Four seasons into his stay with the club in 2019, Gianluigi Donnarumma continued to prove invaluable to the team’s overall success, ranking as the goalie with the highest percentage of saves (87.3%) in the top 5 European Leagues at the time. Fast-forward to today, after 251 appearances for his boyhood club, this player will be saying goodbye at the end of the summer. Already, there are talks of him being picked up by significant clubs in the Premier League.
UEFA Euro 2020 Expectations
This goalie will be entering the tournament as one of Italy’s three goalkeepers, but he’ll have many eyes on him. Mancini worked hard to build the Italian side to a level where they can cruise unbeaten for years. As the games look to begin in earnest, Gianluigi Donnarumma will likely feature significantly in the national coach’s plans.