'Donnarumma is the world's best goalkeeper' - Maldini wants to keep AC Milan star

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Gianluigi Donnarumma - Milan
The technical director heaped praise on the shot-stopper prior to Sunday's 2-0 Serie A victory over Roma at San Siro

Paolo Maldini believes Gianluigi Donnarumma is the best goalkeeper in the world as AC Milan try to keep the Italy star.

Donnarumma has established himself as the undisputed number one keeper at boyhood club AC Milan since debuting as a 16-year-old in 2015, however, his future is often a topic of discussion.

The likes of Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea have been linked to Italy international Donnarumma, who is out of contract in 2021 as AC Milan look to discuss a new deal.

And Milan technical director Maldini heaped praise on Donnarumma prior to Sunday's 2-0 Serie A victory over Roma at San Siro.

"It is certainly Milan's duty to try and keep hold of an important player like Gigio, for what he represents as a symbol, a player who came up through our youth academy and, in my humble opinion, because he is the best goalkeeper in the world," Maldini told DAZN.

Speaking in March when questions of his future at AC Milan started to emerge, Donnarumma made it clear he had a special connection with the club.

"The Rossoneri colours mean a lot to me, because I grew up here," the 21-year-old said in a Q&A via the club's official channels.

"I have always been a Milan fan and I can't help but give my best for this shirt.

"The first goal is the one I share with the club and the one we have set ourselves at the beginning of the season.

"The personal goal is to always give my best and try to concede as few goals as possible."

The future of Zlatan Ibrahimovic is also making headlines after joining AC Milan on a free transfer from LA Galaxy in January.

Ibrahimovic has scored four goals in 10 games across all competitions since returning to Milan for a second spell.

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The 38-year-old's contract expires at the end of the current campaign and Maldini added: "As for Ibrahimovic, these are two different situations. Gigio's contract is not running down, whereas Ibra's is."

AC Milan are currently sitting in seventh position on the Serie A table - a mammoth 27 points adrift of leaders Juventus with 10 matches to play.

They are also 15 points adrift of fourth-placed Atalanta in the final Champions League qualifying position.