Three days before his 16th birthday, Gianluigi Donnarumma received his first call-up to the AC MIlan first team. He didn’t feature in that game but many began to take notice.
Donnarumma went on to make his full debut in October 2015 against Sassuolo, aged 16 years and 242 days, becoming the second youngest goalkeeper to debut in Serie A history.
He went on to enter the world of international football at just 17 years and 189 days, becoming the youngest ever goalkeeper to don the iconic Azzurri goalkeepers shirt.
In the coming weeks, months and years, the Italian goalkeeper would mature and develop into one of the world’s best shot-stoppers, becoming a regular for his national and club sides.
Now in 2019, the 20-year-old has achieved more in the space of three years than most professionals nearing retirement.
Italy’s youngest ever shot-stopper has made 162 senior appearances in his short but successful career, missing just 16 games since making his debut for AC Milan.
The fact that he has already kept 53 clean sheets for the club, including seven in his last ten games, says it all really.
It looks like Donnarumma will be holding down the place as Italy’s number one goalkeeper for years to come, replacing the great Gianluigi Buffon, who said the following on his birthday:
“Ciao Gigio, I wish you a very happy birthday. Finally you can enter into the world of the big boys, which you belong to already.
“Enjoy your age as much as possible, which is the age of maturity. You’ll understand that it’s difficult in the world of adults, but you have all the qualities it takes – moral and human – to create an important space for yourself, be happy and mark an era.”
His club AC Milan also set up a camera to film Donnarumma’s reaction to a special tribute video, but they probably didn’t expect Gianluigi to get so emotional.
Happy birthday, Gianluigi.