Gianluigi Donnarumma denies asking to end deal; Raiola blames Mirabelli
Gianluigi Donnarumma has denied writing to AC Milan demanding they rip up his contract, while his agent, Mino Raiola, said sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli is making the most of the controversy.
Milan fans revealed a banner during their 3-0 Coppa Italia win on Wednesday night in which they said they had run out of patience with Donnarumma, who earlier in the week was accused of having asked Milan to annul his contract due to "psychological violence" when he signed it in the summer.
The 18-year-old was visibly upset about the treatment he was given by Milan's fans and he posted a message on Instagram, denying having made any such demands to the Rossoneri.
"It was a horrible evening and I didn't expect it!" Donnarumma wrote. "I never said nor wrote that I've suffered moral violence when I signed my contract. Despite everything, I look ahead and concentrate on the next game..Forza Milan!"
Mirabelli said his club "know where the evil comes from" in reference to Donnarumma's agent Raiola, who he suggested was trying to seek a move for his client.
Raiola replied with a statement in which he insisted he was not behind the story, saying instead that Mirabelli has something personal against him.
"I take note of what Mirabelli says about and against me -- after all, we are in a democratic country and he can say what he thinks," Raiola said in the statement published by La Gazzetta dello Sport. "Mirabelli has a personal problem with me and he is using Gigio Donnarumma to attack me, but I am not one to get involved in a media circus and, moreover, I don't want Gigio to be dragged into this.
"I will reply to Mirabelli at the appropriate time and place. Gigio has nothing to do with this and he's not done any harm, so it's not right to use him to wage war on me, also because quite clearly Milan's problem is not Gigio, nor [his brother] Antonio. Strangely, neither Mirabelli nor Milan have remarked on the banner which appeared at the stadium.
"We never obliged Milan to sign Antonio, it was Mirabelli's choice, and he should now defend it as such. I would like to remind you that, this summer, there were some financial and sporting offers for Gigio which nobody would ever have turned down, but Gigio and his family made their decision with their hearts.
"I respected this choice. My interest today is only that Gigio is left in peace and quiet so that he can do his best. This should also be the priority of Milan's sporting director and if that is not the case, it should be the priority of Milan's owners and those who represent him.
"This controversy suits Mirabelli at the moment because it diverts the attention from what Milan's real problem is: their technical project. I've got nothing against Milan, in fact I would like to see them be successful. I remind you that I have four players in their first team and I have a vested interest in my clients obtaining good results, but it's not only because of this -- I think it is important for Italian football that Milan return to being protagonists in Italy and in Europe.
"Now [Gennaro] Gattuso has arrived and he's a person I have a lot of time and respect for, and I wish him the best possible. I've read a lot of falsities and absurd things that don't even warrant a response or a denial.
"I've never spoken in public about my clients' contracts in the past and I'm not going to do so now. I've had an open, courteous and professional line of communication with [Milan's general manager] Dr [Marco] Fassone, who I've also met recently. If there were any problems and if it were necessary, I would meet Dr Fassone and we would find solutions.
"But this does not only apply to Gigio or Antonio, but also to any of my other players."
Donnarumma extended his Milan contract until 2021 in the summer, after initially rejecting their offer of a new deal and angering Rossoneri fans in the process.
He had a change of heart less than a month later, committing to a deal that made him the club's best-paid player and the third highest-earning goalkeeper in Europe as Milan flexed their muscles on the transfer market, investing almost €230 million on new players and showing their ambitions.
One of those arrivals was Leonardo Bonucci, who was made club captain after joining from Juventus and was seen comforting Donnarumma in the dressing room of San Siro on Wednesday night.
He has also backed Donnarumma after experiencing his own share of controversy at Juve last season, which prompted him to consider a move.
Donnarumma is crying in the locker room....😓 pic.twitter.com/no0gXiddCZ— AC Forza Milan/News (@ACForzaMilano) December 13, 2017
"Gigio's a fantastic lad, on and off the field," Bonucci told a group of young Milan fans, according to La Gazzetta. "We're all with him.
"There were certain things that happened [last season] which led to both [Juventus] and I taking this decision. When Milan came in, I jumped at the chance to join them, also thanks to the work of Fassone and Mirabelli.
"With Juventus, we decided to go separate ways. It happens that you have arguments in life. Wearing and winning with this shirt makes you go down in history."
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.