Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma is hoping AC Milan fans do not give him a hostile reception when he returns to the San Siro for the Azzurri’s Nations League final four tournament semi-final against Spain on Wednesday.
Donnarumma joined Paris St Germain in July after six seasons in Milan, where made 215 league appearances.
Milan-based newspaper Il Giornale suggested some fans have not forgiven the 22-year-old for leaving, believing Donnarumma will have to “parry away the boos” in the San Siro, should he take to the pitch against Spain.
“I’m excited, Milan and AC Milan are an important part of my life“, Donnarumma told a news conference on Monday. “I’m excited, I hope there is nothing (negative from fans). I will always be a Milan fan“.
“I have always given Milan everything, right up to the end. If something like this happens, I would also be sorry because it is a very important match, a Nations League semi-final, so I hope the fans can help us“.
“We are here in a Nations League semi-final, a competition we care about“.
Donnarumma has only started three of nine Ligue 1 matches for PSG this season, but played down any talk of a rift with his new club and any detrimental effect a lack of playing time could have on his national team selection.
“There is no problem“, Donnarumma added. “I am in Paris to play, it is normal to have some of these things (not starting) at the beginning“.
“I’m sure that everything will be great, I have no problem for the national team. I go on my way, I hope everything can go well“.
Fresh from Italy’s Euro 2020 success in July, where Donnarumma was named Player of the Tournament, Italy host the Nations League tournament which gets underway on Wednesday.
The Azzurri take on Spain in Milan before Belgium face France in Turin in the second semi-final on Thursday. The winners then meet in the final on Sunday. Italy beat Spain on penalties in the Euro 2020 last four.
“Spain are the same team we faced during the European Championship. We try to improve situations where we could have done better last time“, Donnarumma added. “It will not be an easy match, in the European Championship it was difficult“.
“It took a lot of ourselves to get the better of it. Even now we will need 110% to beat them“.