Football

Published on June 19th, 2017 | by Vieri Capretta

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Who is to blame for Milan’s Donnarumma debacle?

The footballer, the agent or the club? Who is to blame for Donnarumma potentially leaving Milan to leave his team 100 million euros down?

Gianluigi Donnarumma is the man of the moment. But this time, it’s not because the youngster has been the starting goalkeeper for AC Milan since the age of 16, but because the Italian has rejected a contract renewal with his boyhood club. Torn between accusing the footballer himself, Donnarumma’s agent Mino Raiola, and the mistakes of the club, Milan fans are fuming, and the debate is raging in Italy: is it Donnarumma’s fault, is it Raiola’s fault or is the club to blame?

After the announcement made on Thursday by Milan directors Massimiliano Mirabelli and Marco Fassone that the 18-year-old would not accept a new deal which has a year left to run, on Sunday night Raiola spoke out with his own version, and Fassone again replied to him. To cut a long story short, the agent says the player was threatened, the club says they offered him a good deal and it was Raiola who convinced him otherwise, with Milan now ready to accept an apology.

The consequences are that Milan will not earn any cash from selling him, or very little compared to his evaluation of roughly 100 million euros, and the player risks spending a whole season on the bench as he waits for his current deal to expire in June 2018, and might not go to the World Cup next year.

The Milan fans haven’t been this angry in a while, as Donnarumma had displayed his affection to the club on multiple occasions and reportedly rejected an offer worth 5 million euros a year after tax for five seasons: a huge sum, added to the fact he supports Milan. A dream for any Rossoneri fan. So for him to reply negatively is a huge blow to long-suffering supporters.

It’s difficult to say who’s right and wrong. Everyone here seems to be to blame. Milan should have acted earlier and more convincingly, Raiola should not just think about money, and the player – albeit being only 18 – should not listen to the people around him this much. It is his decision that matters in the end.

What this case shows is the power of agents and how they can control modern football. Raiola earns money from his players moving clubs, and would obviously push for Donnarumma to change. Despite denying it, the agent will surely have received other rich offers for the wonder-kid goalkeeper.

Donnarumma, however, should have imposed his will. If he really wanted to stay at Milan, he could and should have done it. Now the fans are showing their anger, and this is also part of the game. Banners with “Dollar-umma” appeared behind his goal in the Italy Under 21 game against Denmark, and fake dollars were thrown at him. Many people said that was too much, but there were no insults nor violence: just a funny way to protest against his decision.

This will happen more and more often, and as well as blaming the club and his agent, Donnarumma will only have himself to blame. Ultimately, the decision was his. And this way, he might end up earning much more money in another club (Real Madrid, Manchester United and Paris Saint Germain are reportedly interested), but will need to cope with the frustration of fans who hailed him as an idol until last week, but are now branding him as a traitor.

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About the Author

mm

A freelance journalist and broadcaster focusing on European soccer and currently featuring on Uefa.com, La Gazzetta dello Sport, Marca in English and more.



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