Even three weeks after Gianluigi Donnrumma’s refusal to renew his contract with Milan, the 18-year-old continues to be a hot, and controversial topic, in the football fraternity. His decision has put him on the receiving end of many upset remarks, but the protest that got everyone talking, was when fake dollar bills were thrown at him during Italy’s opening game against Denmark in the U21 European Championships. Behind the remonstration was a group of Polish Rossoneri fans, who head up the group Milan Club Polonia. Rossella Marrai-Ricco spoke exclusively to MCP’s club president, Roman Sidorowicz.
Rossella Marrai-RIcco: Hello Roman, thank you for the chance to interview you. Tell me, what were your thoughts when you and Milan Club Polonia heard about the news of Donnarumma’s decision to not renew his contract?
Roman Sidorowicz: Hello Rossella. We were really disappointed and we felt big sorrow... Not because Donnarumma didn't renew his contract, but this player was a guy who kissed our shirt and promised big love just few months ago. He said on several occasions that he dreamed of playing for Milan when he was young, and right now, he refused a new millionaire contract.
RMR: Understandably, the Milan fans were hurt by this decision, and you and the club members reacted with a demonstration that went viral across the globe. Why did the club decide to throw the fake money at Donnarumma?
RS: We decided to throw the fake money because we have considered that his love to Milan, which he promised, was fake. You cannot promise love, and after few months, not renew a big contract. It's obvious that you will become a traitor, especially when you refuse a €5 million contract. Everyone knows that Mino Raiola is only looking for money, and that's why we threw the fake money at him.
RMR: The Club didn’t stop there, as another banner went up during the defeat to Czech Republic, which read: “If you have Milan in your heart, change your agent.” Will there be another banner in the final group game against Germany?
RS: We put another banner against Raiola during the game against Czech Republic, but I cannot tell you if we will make another banner. We will see how the situation will change, but till now I can say that our protest was profitable, because we put a pressure on both sides. After that, everyone started to write about this contract and both sides have since started to negotiate once again.
RMR: Indeed, these protests have had a massive impact. Why do you think it’s important for the fans’ opinions to be heard?
RS: Fans, with their protests, always put pressure on another side. We have put big pressure on Donnarumma and Raiola. I think Gigio, during this protest, wasn't feeling very good, and he proved to have a bit of regret because he refused this contract - at least I hope so! Raiola has created an image/perception of a guy, who thinks only about money, and he is not grateful to Milan for everything what Milan gave him. With this dollar rain, we have shown this to everybody in the whole world. After this protest, even normal people who don't care about football have started to be interested in this Donnarumma story.
RMR: A lot has happened over the course of the past few days, and it seems like Raiola has now been put under a lot of pressure, including his relationship with Donnarumma. What are your thoughts on this?
RS: I think that Raiola is the main guilty party of this story. He cares only about his pocket, and every time he wants to sell a player, it’s for the highest possible money to get big commission for himself. Paul Pogba's story can be one of examples; when he get €27 million of commission only. He looks only for money and not for what is good for the player. Also Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s story is a good example… I think that Ibra has never won a Champions League title just because he had Raiola as a manager. Such good players don't need an agent like Raiola. I think that Raiola influenced Donnarumma’s decisions too much… He refused a €5 million contract from Milan because he is sure that he can get much more from others clubs, and then he will also get some commission, which the new Milan don't want to pay him.
RMR: There are talks that Donnarumma could change his mind and renew. Do you think the fans will warmly welcome him back? Or does he have to dismiss Raiola first?
RS: The main thing is that he needs to change manager and cut all ties with Raiola. If he will do this, then all fans will forgive him. If he will stay with Raiola, and renew with Milan, I think that it will not change too much. Everybody knows that if he will stay with Raiola then he will sell him in the next year or two.
RMR: On a lighter note, there have been plenty of positives in Milan’s transfer market, despite the Gigio-saga. What have you made of the transfer window so far?
RS: So far, we have made really good transfers. We have bought the players for the positions, which were needed. Right now, I also think that we don't need to buy an expensive attacker. It will be better to spend this money for a good midfielder who will make a good passes to the attackers. If our current attackers like Bacca or Lapadula receive good passes, then now I think that they can also score a lot of goals.
RMR: Thank you again, Roman.
RS: You’re welcome.