Gianluigi Donnarumma

PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain said on Wednesday that they had completed the signing of Italy’s Euro 2020 goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma on a five-year deal. The 22-year-old, who saved two penalties in the Euro 2020 final and was named player of the tournament, heads to France on a free transfer from AC Milan. Donnarumma will be in competition with the experienced Keylor Navas for the goalkeeper’s jersey.

“I am delighted to be part of this huge club,” said Donnarumma in a statement released by PSG. “I feel ready to take on this new challenge and continue to grow here. With Paris, I want to win as much as possible and to bring joy to the supporters.” During his six seasons with the Rossoneri, the Naples-born goalkeeper made 215 appearances in Serie A along with 16 in Europa League matches and 12 in the Italian Cup (including the 2016 and 2018 finals).

He is the third player to sign for PSG on a free transfer this summer following Spanish defender Sergio Ramos, who was out of contract at Real Madrid, and Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum from Liverpool. PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino will have the luxury of choosing between the two experienced shot-stoppers as he looks to lead the club to a long elusive European Cup.

Costa Rican international Navas, 34, joined two seasons ago from Real Madrid, where he won three consecutive Champions league titles but Donnarumma is just 22 and fresh from starring at Euro 2020. Rotating keepers is something PSG have tried before but not entirely successfully. Over recent seasons they have, at various times, juggled Salvatore Sirigu, Kevin Trapp, Alphonse Areola and Italian legend Gianluigi Buffon. French international Areola is due to return this season from a loan year at Fulham.

Navas shone in PSG’s run to the Champions League final two seasons ago and also as they eliminated reigning champions Bayern Munich, in last season’s quarters before a semi-final exit to Manchester City. While the Costa Rican is an excellent shot stopper he is less at ease in playing out from the back and coming off his line. He might have been pleased to former Real colleague and defensive mainstay Sergio Ramos arrive to play in front of him, but is the man for the future.

Meanwhile, AC Milan director Paolo Maldini confirmed on Wednesday that Chelsea’s French center-forward Olivier Giroud was set to arrive in Italy while regretting the loss of goalkeeper Donnarumma to Paris Saint Germain. “Olivier should arrive in Milan tomorrow (Thursday),” Maldini said at the unveiling of the Serie A calendar for the 2021-2022 season.

The 34-year-old World Cup winner is reported to be set to sign a two-year contract worth three million euros per season with the Serie A runners-up, who open next season at Sampdoria. “He’s a champion, not only with the national team, he’s done great things with Chelsea, won the Champions League,” continued Maldini. “He’s a very reliable player and that’s what we’re looking for. We have a young team and we need players with this experience.”

Milan’s star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is 39, underwent knee surgery in Rome in June and remains uncertain for the start of the coming campaign. Giroud joined Chelsea after six seasons with Arsenal in January 2018. He arrived in England from Montpellier with whom he won Ligue 1. In England, between Chelsea and Arsenal he has won four FA Cups and three Community Shields. He won the Europa League and Champions League with Chelsea.

Meanwhile, Maldini said there was “a bit of regret” at losing Italy’s Euro 2020 winner Donnarumma who is joining PSG on a five-year deal. “Gigio remains an important loss for us even if we have bought a great goalkeeper,” said Maldini, with French international Mike Maignan signed from Ligue 1 champions Lille. “He’s a boy who grew up in our nursery. “The fact that the story is interrupted hurts.

With Gigio the past was very beautiful, but the future fascinates me more.” The 22-year-old, who saved two penalties in the Euro final and was named player of the tournament, heads to France on a free transfer. During his six seasons with the Rossoneri, the Naples-born goalkeeper made 215 Serie A appearances. – AFP