Gianluigi Donnarumma joins PSG as Gianluigi Buffon goes back to Parma
The Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has agreed to join Paris Saint-Germain having become a free agent at Milan. The news comes as Donnarumma’s legendary predecessor for the Azzurri, Gianluigi Buffon, prepares to join Parma, 26 years after he made his debut for the club.
Donnarumma has signed a five-year contract with PSG, bringing to an end months of speculation regarding the 22-year-old’s future. His decision not to sign a contract extension with Milan made it clear he was preparing to leave the club and he was at one stage linked with a move to Juventus. However, he ultimately decided to move to France and join Mauricio Pochettino’s star-studded squad.
Donnarumma is a huge loss for Milan. Not only one of their best players but also one of their most loyal servants, he made his debut for the club in 2015, when he was only 16 years and 242 days old, making him the second-youngest goalkeeper to start a match in Italian football. He has been consistently excellent ever since and it is no surprise that he has gone on to become a mainstay of Roberto Mancini’s national team, starting both their games at Euro 2020 so far – against Turkey and Switzerland.
Donnarumma will fight for his place alongside the 34-year-old Keylor Navas, who has been PSG’s principal goalkeeper since joining the club from Real Madrid in September 2019. The Costan Rican replaced Buffon, who aged 43 is showing no signs of hanging up his gloves. His latest move is also arguably his most romantic, seeing the veteran move to the club where he made his name aged just 17. Buffon was Donnarumma before Donnarumma was even born.
Buffon joins a very different Parma to the one he made his debut for in November 1995, with the club in Serie B having been relegated from Serie A last season. But that is clearly of little concern to Buffon, who played in the second tier with Juventus and turned down offers from Besiktas and Flamengo in order to return to the Stadio Ennio Tardini.