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Talent Radar

Talent Radar Awards 2016-17: Best Young Goalkeeper – Gianluigi Donnarumma

For the fourth season running, the Talent Radar Awards recognise the best individuals across Europe’s top leagues across seven primary categories.

[Eligibility: As of 1st June 2016 – 21 years old and below for outfield players // 22 years old and below for goalkeepers]


Young Donnarumma rose to prominence when ex-AC Milan coach, Sinisa Mihajlovic, gave the teenager a shock debut against Sassuolo in October 2015. Infamously, many Milan supporters claim it’s the only positive impact Mihajlovic had on the club in his short stint. Nearly seventy league games later, Donnarumma hasn’t looked back starting every game and establishing himself not only as Milan’s number one, but arguably one of the best keepers on the continent.

Fittingly, Donnarumma’s 2016-17 season started against Mihajlovic’s new side Torino, which the Rossoneri went onto win after the Italian keeper saved a penalty in stoppage time. It would prove to be a testament to Donnarumma’s positive season, despite the ups and downs of the club he represents. Donnarumma has kept eleven clean sheets in the league, including one in a famous win over rivals Juventus as the teenager threw in a fabulous performance.

His commanding performances at this young age continues to surprise viewers; and having firmly cemented his place as one of Europe’s finest, it’s a scary thought to consider what more the youngster can achieve.



One thing which stands out about Donnarumma is his domineering physical frame. Standing at 1.96m (6’5), he towers over his opponents despite being the youngest player on the field most every time he dons the Milan shirt. With his huge stature come a plethora of advantages that he exploits to the fullest. For many strikers, seeing the towering figure of Donnarumma rushing towards them tends to put them in a state of apprehension and often leads to an inability to fashion an effective one-on-one opportunity when up against him between the posts.

As was expected with the fact that he bears the same name as the Italian great Buffon, people were quick to draw comparisons with both Gigis, with many saying they were almost identical in style. Although they do share some similarities, it would be quite misguided to make such strong comparisons as when analysing both players it is clear to see the difference in their goalkeeping style. Both have a wonderful ability to save shots from long and close range, and have a command of their area that many goalkeepers would kill for.

Read a full Scout Report on Donnarumma here.


Here’s what Matt Santangelo of AC Milan Bros told Outside of the Boot about Donnarumma:

“As AC Milan’s last line of defence, 18 year old Gianluigi Donnarumma’s work in goal has been of paramount importance in the Rossoneri’s quest for Europa League qualification. With a flair for the dramatic, his acrobatic saves have rescued the Lombard outfit plenty, making him as valuable as any player to their respective club in Italy.”

And this is what Giancarlo Rosselli of @ACMilanNYC told us:

Gigio continues to prove that he is a mature young man who brings a calm and confidence to the Milan goal that is expected of a 10 year veteran, not of an 18 year old.

He learns from his mistakes and continues to grow as a leader in this young team. We hope to see him wear the captains’ arm band one day and are very excited of his future with the club and the Italian National team.”


2016-17PlayerAge (at the time)NationalityClub (at the time)Current Club
1stGianluigi Donnarumma18ItalyAC MilanAC Milan
2ndAlban Lafont18FranceToulouseToulouse
3rdAndre Onana21CameroonAjax AmsterdamAjax Amsterdam
2015-16PlayerAge (at the time)NationalityClub (at the time)Current Club
1stJan Oblak23SlovakiaAtletico MadridAtletico Madrid
2ndJack Butland23EnglandStoke CityStoke City
3rdAlphonse Areola23FranceVillarrealParis Saint-Germain
2014-15PlayerAge (at the time)NationalityClub (at the time)Current Club
1stLoris Karius21GermanyMainzLiverpool
2ndTimo Horn22Germany1. FC Köln1. FC Köln
3rdMattia Perin22ItalyGenoaGenoa
2013-14PlayerAge (at the time)NationalityClub (at the time)Current Club
1stThibaut Courtois21BelgiumAtletico MadridChelsea
2ndMarc-André ter Stegen22GermanyBorussia MönchengladbachBarcelona
3rdLoris Karius20GermanyMainzLiverpool

Read all our 2016-17 Talent Radar Awards 

Next Award →

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