Massimiliano Mirabelli opened the door to the sale of Gianluigi Donnarumma and said Italian football is unable to attract big stars, so Milan must have a difference strategy in the market.
Milan failed to secure sixth place last night as they conceded a goal in the 92′ minute against Atalanta and returned from Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia with just a single point, meaning everything will be decided against Fiorentina next week.
Many fans believed that Atalanta’s goal could and should’ve been stopped by Gianluigi Donnarumma, and while Gennaro Gattuso defended his goalkeeper, director of sport Massimiliano Mirabelli simply refused to rule out a possible sale.
“The future of Donnarumma? We must protect Donnarumma and we’ll protect him to the end,” Mirabelli told Premium Sport at the end of the match. “After that, as with all the other players, we’ll see what happens. He’s certainly our heritage and it’s difficult that we would deprive ourselves [of him] unless of course someone evaluates our goalkeeper like he should be evaluated.
“If an important offer arrived, would Milan think about a possible sale of Donnarumma? This applies to Donnarumma as well as to everyone else. There are much more important sides [financially] and we have to choose other ways. We do not delude ourselves that we’d be able to go back to the time when Calcio attracted many champions. We’ll never attract them, that’d be very difficult.”
Speaking to Sky Italia, Mirabelli said: “It was not easy to take on Atalanta, as they’ve been causing everyone problems, and we played in the Coppa Italia final on Wednesday. The team put in a great performance, one worthy of Milan, even if we honestly should’ve won.
“Donnarumma? We tried to protect the boy who had some problems in the final and he will make more mistakes, because he is young. He is our heritage, we reassured him, we are trying to look ahead, the future is all his. Kalinić? He comes off a particular season [the Croatian scored just five goals in this campaign], he had a great game. He arrived in an unsuitable [physical] condition after the pre-season had finished, it wasn’t a lucky year but he’s a forward of great respect.
“The mercato [Milan are expected to sign 3-4 players but it’s unclear what the budget is]? We have quite clear ideas, we had a special strategy last summer, trying to sign as many players as possible to open up a new era. We are a young squad and the Milan jersey is a heavy one to carry. We had some ups and downs, we added Bonucci and Biglia in there to make this group grow. But this group will give the fans the kind of satisfaction that for various reasons we were unable to this year.
“However, we must all forget about the beautiful story that was the Milan winning seven European Cups. You must not forget that in the past there was another Calcio. We [Italian clubs] no longer have the ability to bring many champions due to the entry of Arabs in football. We are no longer the country that so many champions dreamt of. I’m not only talking about Milan but about the whole of Italian football. We must choose other roads, going after potential champions.”
Mirabelli also had an interview with MilanTV: “This was a tough match and we faced one of the most in-form teams in Serie A. We dominated Atalanta and I would like to congratulate both coach Gattuso and the boys. We secured the qualification to the Europa League, but we need to defend the 6th place. We have one last battle. Our fans have always responded greatly, they know Milan-Fiorentina is a very important match. We have to be all united on Sunday to seal the 6th place.
“The reaction after the final? The players responded brilliantly, it was tough from a physical and psychological standpoint. Donnarumma? He had some issues during the Coppa final, but he is very valuable to us and we must protect him. Kalinić? He has not had an easy year, but he gave a great performance. I hope people don’t whistle him at San Siro. Our fans have to whistle our opponents.
“Gattuso? Rino’s work receives appreciation and not only here. He is a heritage of world football. Rino had little time to intervene and yet he managed to give an identity to the team and become a leader among the boys. He is a great coach and we hope to start a cycle with him.
“It will be different once he starts the season as our coach.” Should Milan fail to finish 6th, they would start the season very early and play a Europa League preliminary game already in July.