When Gianluigi Donnarumma succeeded Gianluigi Buffon as Italy’s first choice goalkeeper, there was a lot of pressure on the youngster’s shoulders.
His performances for the Azzurri, though, including at this summer’s European Championship, have proven beyond doubt that he is one of – if not the standalone – the best goalkeepers in Europe at the moment.
Being named as Player of the Tournament might have come as a bit of a surprise at first, but with a little more thought it was recognition that made lot of sense. The 22-year-old played a huge part in their success this summer, not conceding a single goal in the group phase, making a series of good saves against Belgium and then winning two consecutive penalty shootouts, saving two spot kicks in the final.
Italy are in safe hands
Italy have a lot of decent goalkeepers at the moment. Alessio Cragno, Alex Meret, Marco Silvestri and others, though, are unlikely to get anywhere near the Azzurri XI unless Donnarumma suffers a serious injury or a catastrophic downturn in form.
Having only recently seen Buffon‘s era come to an end, Donnarumma has already started another for Italy and, at just 22, he doesn’t look like being displaced anytime soon. In fact, if Buffon’s career is anything to go by, Donnarumma could still be playing for his country in 15 or 20 years.
A bargain this summer
Much like the Copa America’s best player – Lionel Messi – Donnarumma is a free agent and doesn’t currently have a club after his AC Milan contract expired at the end of June.
A move to Paris Saint-Germain appears to be next for the Italian, and by landing him they’re not only complicating Keylor Navas’ life, but they’re making themselves Champions League favourites for 2021/22, further helped by the signings of Georginio Wijnaldum, Sergio Ramos and Achraf Hakimi.