Is it true that many fans believe Gianluigi Donnarumma is to blame for Italy’s World Cup play-off loss to North Macedonia yesterday?
Following his free transfer to French giants Paris Saint-Germain last summer, the 23-year-old Italian shot-stopper is having a difficult season. He shares a starting slot with Keylor Navas, a former Real Madrid player, and poor performance in the Ligue 1 side’s Champions League loss to Los Blancos worried him.
Donnarumma failed to react quickly to Aleksandar Trajkovski’s 92nd minute shot from outside the box, allowing it to creep in the far corner, where it broke hearts up and down Italy. It was only the second shot on target that he’d faced all game, but he still failed to perform when it mattered.
Despite this error, it’s simply unfair to lay a significant amount of blame on the 23-year-old shot-stopper. Yes, he could have reacted faster and possibly saved the shot, but it’s not his fault that no defender managed to close Trajkovski down whilst he lined up the shot, a shot that he scored numerous times during his time with Palermo.
It’s also not Donnarumma’s fault that Italy failed to convert any of their 32 shots into a goal, nor is he to blame for Roberto Mancini’s failure to adequately resolve the Azzurri’s obvious issues upfront.
Pointing the finger of blame at the PSG goalkeeper is a lazy and ultimately useless piece of criticism, which serves to note as Italy looks to rebuild ahead of Euro 2024. Donnarumma will remain Italy’s number one, as he rightfully should, and now it seems he’ll have to win back the hearts of Italians again.
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