It’d be safe to say that Gianluigi Donnarumma endures a rather difficult relationship with sections of the Italy support. 

Indeed, despite emerging as the heir to Gianluigi Buffon’s throne (no easy feat of course), the 22-year-old has endured criticism. Rarely has that centred around his performance, however.

Throughout his career, the custodian has been labelled somewhat of a mercenary given his contract wrangles with AC Milan over the years. Pelted with fake money in 2017 as he seemed set to leave the Italian giants, Donnarumma hasn’t always been the most popular figure.

That particular motif continued last night.

Only months after his penalty shootout heroics that won Italy their first major trophy since 2006, Donnarumma was on the receiving end of more abuse.

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Playing at the iconic San Siro for the first time since leaving Milan for Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer in the summer window just passed, sections of the support made their feelings clear.

When first touching the ball, Donnarumma was roundly booed during the Azzurri’s Nations League semi-final loss to Spain. At times, it seemed as if he were an opposition player stepping into a firey hostile cauldron of noise away from home.

Whether or not the abuse had any meaningful impact on the result is clearly up for debate but, frankly, it surely cannot have helped as Roberto Mancini’s side slipped to their first defeat in 37 games.

Manchester City’s Ferran Torres scored twice in the first-half before a late Lorenzo Pellegrini goal gave the hosts hope, although their remarkable stretch of success has finally come to a close.

For his part, Mancini moved to defend the player.

Speaking after the game, he said (via Goal): “It certainly won’t have pleased him, just as it did not please us. Gigio did well.

“Donnarumma played for Italy and it was not a club game.

“This situation could have been put aside for one night and [he could have been] whistled [at] in a possible PSG vs Milan [match]. Italy are Italy and come above all else.”

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