Plenty has been made of 18-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and his agent Mino Raiola refusing a contract offer at AC Milan. There’s been name-calling, hurt feelings, and scathing words flying in every which direction.
AC Milan, not wanting to be disrespected by such a young and inexperienced player, has publicized what it says is the final contract offer given to Donnarumma that was eventually rejected.
Speaking with Italian publication Corriere dello Sport, AC Milan sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli said, “We wanted to make him a symbol of Milan for our fans and Gigio had everything required to fill that role. He would have had the captain’s armband and, frankly, it was an enormous offer, considering his young age and Milan’s situation: €25 million [$28 million] net over five years, meaning €50 million [$56 million] gross from the club.”
If true, it’s certainly a hefty offer for Donnarumma to turn down. For the club to have offered him captaincy is significant given manager Vincenco Montella’s comments back in May, when he said he would not make Donnarumma captain because he doesn’t think goalkeepers don’t make good captains.
While Mirabelli reflected the frustration of the club, he also respects the goalkeeper’s decision. “On a human level, we were upset, especially as there was no chance for negotiation,” the sporting director said. “It’s not true that on Thursday there was tension with Raiola and we argued with him. We both simply took stock of the situation and went our separate ways. We are upset, naturally, just as our fans are. And I say that with the utmost respect for Gigio and Raiola; everyone is free to make whatever decision they deem right.”
That final part is most important. While it’s every fan’s right to question whether Donnarumma’s decision is the correct one, it is ultimately his own choice, and he has every right to make a decision that he believes will better his own personal situation. Whether it works out remains to be seen, but it’s every player’s right to seek out the best possible financial and personal setup for him and his family.