Gianluigi Donnarumma Player Analysis Powered by The Scouting App

A European Champion and the Player of the Tournament at the recently concluded Euro 2020, Gianluigi Donnarumma has come a long way since being a prodigy at Milan. Now with his contract at Milan ending and, as he prepares to sign with PSG, he will have to battle with Keylor Navas for a starting spot in the upcoming season.

However, there is no doubt that he will be the man between the sticks for the long term in Paris. So what can the Parisians expect from the young Italian?

One thing that stands out about Donnarumma is his domineering physical frame. Standing at 196cm (6’5), he towers over his opponents. 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 between the two 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 analyzing 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.

However, when observing Donnarumma’s style one notices his tendency to rush out of goal when an opposition striker has breached his team’s defensive line. He is quick to anticipate when the striker may receive the ball in behind the defense and a lot of the times has already prepared to rush forward and thwart the striker’s advancement on goal. Add to that his eagerness to contribute to Milan’s circulation in the build-up phase and his desire to occasionally position himself higher up.

One of his main strengths is his wonderful reflexes and shot-stopping prowess despite his lanky frame. On many occasions this past season, Donnarumma could be seen pulling off magnificent saves that many of the world’s goalkeeping greats would be proud of. Key to his ability to save shots is his fantastic positioning. He is always mindful of how and where he is positioned in relation to the movement and trajectory of the ball. Anticipation is again key here as he must predict the flight of the ball, a very difficult skill when the game as a whole is passing by at such a rapid pace.

Besides shot-stopping, he boasts an authoritative command of his area that is unusual for someone his age. He shows a great confidence when coming out to claim balls from crosses and punch balls clear. This ties in with his large 6’5 frame as he towers over other players inside the box and is able to dominate them physically with consummate ease. Opposition players often appear reluctant to challenge him aerially during set pieces and crosses as he can often appear intimidating to many. He tends to punch more often than he catches, again taking advantage of his large wingspan to punch the ball out of harm’s way when confronted with balls coming in from wide areas.

Arguably his greatest asset is his ability to deal with one-on-ones. He displays an astonishing bravery to constantly come off his line, especially for one so young and also phenomenal anticipation and reaction time as we see on a regular basis. This helps his team tactically as it allows them to maintain a reasonably high defensive line, safe in the knowledge that Donnarumma will be on hand to sweep up in behind and thwart opposition attacks should they break through the defensive line.

In spite of all his qualities and prodigious talent, he does display some glaring weaknesses, which is understandable for someone of his age. However, these will most likely even themselves out over time as he improves his technique and becomes more experienced.

Donnarumma’s command of the area is one of his greatest strengths. However, when dealing with crosses he is nowhere near as proficient in handling the ball as he is at punching it clear. On a number of occasions, he could be seen fumbling balls that a keeper of his quality would be expected to deal with. This problem is not uncommon amongst young keepers though, David de Gea’s first season at Manchester United being a perfect example. But despite this being an area of improvement, it is doubtful that it will continue to affect him as he progresses as a goalkeeper.

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