Silvio Berlusconi says Gianluigi Donnarumma would not want to leave AC Milan if he were still in charge, but understands why the goalkeeper wants to go.
The 18-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid since rejecting Milan's contract offer, with his current deal expiring in June 2018.
Although Milan insist they will not sell the Italy international in the close-season, Madrid president Florentino Perez confirmed they are interested.
Berlusconi, who owned the Rossoneri from 1986 until selling it to Sino-Europe Sports in April, says he would have convinced Donnarumma to sign a new deal.
"I'd do anything to keep Donnarumma," he told Porta a Porta. "But being a guy with a chance to go to a team and earn €100 million for himself and his family, I wonder, who would not do the same?
"With my talents, I would have been able to find a middle ground to keep him a time at Milan and then let him go on to make it big in life."
Donnarumma's decision has prompted a great deal of anger in Milan, with CEO claiming he and agent Mino Raiola have cost the club €100m, while he was showered with fake money during an Italy U21s game with Denmark.
He received support from a fellow professional in Paul Pogba, who said he "deserves only respect".
Donnarumma has made 72 appearances for Milan's first-team since making his debut in October 2010, while he has four caps for Italy.