From his blunder against Real to his blunder against OM – Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG), forty days in hell

What if the mighty Golgoth was just a colossus with feet of clay? The memory of Gianluigi Donnarumma is primarily a matter of visual impression. 1.96 m, 90 kilos: stands, unmistakable with such an imposing, so dominant size. It may even be one of its main weapons: confident as during the Euro, it looks like an unsinkable liner that no wave can tear out of the saddle. That’s how Donnarumma was built, the Milanese prodigy who didn’t seem to take the pressure and criticism. And then came the Real Madrid iceberg…

March 9, 2022: Beginning of an endless fall for Gigio. The Italian bouncer provokes the Madrid revolt against himself after a heckling from Karim Benzema that will lead to the downfall of Paris (3-1). Up until that fatal error, his season will have alternated between good and excellent, his saves in the Champions League and that clear calm allowed him to take on Keylor Navas for that crucial game. At 23, the Italian finds himself at the forefront. To preserve it and still remain true to his principle of rotation, Mauricio Pochettino starts the Costa Rican against Bordeaux (3-0), the quarry only affects Neymar and Messi.

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The Benzema-Donnarumma contact, the starting point of a long torment for the PSG goalkeeper

Photo credit: Getty Images

A nightmarish truce

March 20, 2022: Gigio is back, this time in Monaco. In search of confidence and standards, Donnarumma was abandoned by his family and went into the net three times (3-0). A sign that the Baraka is fleeing from him, it is he who deflects a penalty converted by Wissam Ben Yedder into his net while on the trajectory. The international break will do him good, we think. She will only hasten her fate.

Defended tooth and nail by Italy, who accuse the French press and PSG of manhandling the hero of summer 2021, Donnarumma is finding a healthier environment and therefore better able to regain sensations. Against North Macedonia, the transalpine goalkeeper has found a pattern this season that PSG knows: making few stops is about doing the right thing at the right time. 90+2 minutes: Aleksandar Trajkovski’s chocolate is suddenly well placed. Enough for Donnarumma to bend to the ground and finish the match despite his relaxation sounding like his teammates. “The curse continues‘ headlines the Repubblica, while the Gazzetta Donnarumma invites, ‘wake up“to participate in the national recovery.

For Donnarumma, however, the time of collapse has come. Equal against Turkey (3-2), he is clearly at fault for a shot from Ünder from a closed angle before grazing the gagged goal, again on foot, by clearing an opposing striker. From regular and reliable, “gigio” becomes intermittent and feverish.

Giorgio Chiellini relieves Gigio Donnarumma, Italia, Getty Images

Photo credit: Getty Images

His strengths have become his weaknesses.

The impression made on Sunday at the Parc des Princes confirms this sudden and worrying turnaround. Donnarumma never seemed calm. He will never have been sovereign. In short, his two main qualities have become his two balls. Between his completely failed corner kick to equalize Marseille (30th), his risky kickstarts and this determined exit, which finally ended with an incomprehensible demolition in the billboards (90th + 2), he will have sent nothing more than a kind of fragility , almost shy to impose itself especially on its surface, which is denoted by its imposing physique.

Asked about his goalkeeper’s bad pass, Mauricio Pochettino refused to give in to growing concerns about Italy’s national treasure. “I’m happy with what Gianluigi is doinghe said. Yields are not linear over a season, there are ups and downs. He has been at a very good level for many months. All players are prone to errors“.

While Keylor Navas finds the group following his absence following an injury sustained during the truce, inevitably the move should go ahead. No more question of hierarchy at this time of the year, because the problem is likely to arise especially in the summer, when the contours of the Parisian workforce are clearly redefined. The fact remains that one statistic illustrates Donnarumma’s unease: he has not kept a clean sheet since Real, club and squad combined. Forty days Calvary, forty days in Hell. Rest assured he has just 34 left before the end of a season that has lasted too long for him as it has for PSG…

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