Gianluigi Donnarumma? AC Milan fans no longer know who it is. By signing for PSG in the summer of 2021, the Italian left "his" club, crowned with the status of best player in the Euro and, for many, the best goalkeeper in the world. This gives you the performance of Mike Maignan, who swept aside the passage (and the stormy departure) of Donnarumma. Promising in Lille, Maignan, new protector of the goal of the Blues, entered the dimension of the giants in his post. In Milan, it is unanimous.
Maignan is the “point catcher”, qualified the Gazzetta dello Sport after his capital performance against Naples, in the quarter-final first leg of the Champions League (1-0). The tricolor doorman “made two or three capital interventions”, recognized, disgusted, the Neapolitan coach Luciano Spalletti. After almost five months on the sidelines and a missed World Cup for a recalcitrant calf, the tifosi celebrated his return, against Atalanta at San Siro on February 26 (2-0), for a quiet evening, without opposing shots on target .
SEE ALSO – The best of Mike Maignan at AC Milan this season
Since then, “Magic Mike” has had a job. And he did it very well, both against Fiorentina (2-1 defeat) and against Tottenham, in the round of 16 second leg of C1 (0-0), where he was decisive in added time. “What has he missed this season,” sighed Corriere della Serra. The France team also took advantage of its virtuosity on its line, with an incredible save against Ireland. But if Milan loves Maignan, it's for much more than his reflexes.
“I didn't know him before playing against Lille in the Europa League (in 2020), his current coach Stefano Pioli told L'Équipe. At home, they beat us 3-0, and I said to my goalkeeping coach at the end of the game: "That one, you have to follow him." His communication and his presence in the game impressed me. Maignan is a presence, a charisma, an aura. It is also a style.
Jean-Luc Ettori, former goalkeeper of the Blues in 602 Ligue 1 matches, underlined his “astonishing calm” in our columns a year ago. "Mike Maignan has the baggage of a modern goalkeeper", judged Franck Raviot, goalkeeper coach of the France team for Les Dernieres Nouvelles d'Alsace last March. "It combines the kamikaze side and modernity", explained Ettori to us. For the Gazzetta, AC Milan “has another number 10 between the posts”, as Maignan plays high and initiates the actions of his team, thanks to a technical accuracy worthy of a field player.
In Milan, he is credited with a good share of the title of Italian champion 2022, the first for a decade. “I was sure he was an excellent goalkeeper but he turned out to be even better than I thought, marveled Pioli. He is very meticulous in his preparation for matches. Nothing incredible in the eyes of the Guyanese (27), trained at PSG. "I like to study attackers," he said at the start of the season.
Elected best goalkeeper in Serie A, Maignan is not just a first team manager. This season, he offered the model of his gloves to all the young goalkeepers of the club. They love it in Lombardy. So much so that the club is negotiating its revaluation. Maignan receives “only” €2.8 million net per year, with a contract until 2026. AC Milan wants to “shield it”, assures Corriere della Sera. A coronation in the Champions League, which the Rossoneri want to believe before going to Naples on Tuesday, would explode its rating.