Football Serie A

Donnarumma: ‘Embarrassed by CR7’

Gianluigi Donnarumma admits he was “too embarrassed to talk to Cristiano Ronaldo” and is proud to represent Italy against Portugal.

The Azzurri host Portugal on Saturday at San Siro at 19.45 GMT and the 19-year-old will start in goal.

“I am happy and thank the Coach for putting his faith in me. I am very proud to be representing the Nazionale and it is the dream of all children,” the Milan man told Rai Sport.

“We’re facing Portugal in our stadium and I am sure the fans will give us a big push. We’ll do everything we can to win and hope for first place in the group.”

Cristiano Ronaldo is not in the Portugal squad for this Nations League match, although Donnarumma was beaten by him when Juventus played Milan here last week.

“It was so exciting to meet Ronaldo, because I was always up against him in my PlayStation games. I didn’t speak to him, as I was too embarrassed.”

That game saw Gonzalo Higuain sent off for dissent, descending into a full-blown meltdown with both teams trying to calm him down.

“We forgave him, he is a great guy and apologised to everyone. It was a very important game for him and the key is that he knows he made a mistake, so won’t do it again. He even spoke to the referee and apologised to him too.

“He was so disappointed, I went over and consoled him. He needs to stay calm, because he can give us a big hand and I’m sure he will do.”

Donnarumma needed consoling after Inter’s last-gasp winner in the Derby della Madonnina, as Mauro Icardi pounced on the goalkeeper’s error.

“I struggled to sleep after that, but it’s part of being a goalkeeper and things happen. Let’s just say that was an error of evaluation. I thought he couldn’t fit the cross in from there, but he did, and it was a valuable lesson for me.”

There was another period of Donnarumma’s career that proved very tense indeed, when he was on the verge of leaving Milan only to eventually sign a massive new contract.

“It was difficult, because I didn’t want to think about it, but it creeps into your sub-conscious. I was helped by my family and girlfriend during that time, as they tried to keep me focused.”

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