'Italy above all else!' - Mancini condemns venomous Donnarumma fan reception at San Siro

Donnarumma Mancini Italy GFXGetty / Goal

Italy head coach Roberto Mancini expressed displeasure after Gianluigi Donnarumma's rocky return to Milan on Wednesday, claiming fans should have prioritised their love for their national team over their anger at the player's recent Serie A club exit.

The former AC Milan goalkeeper lined up in front of San Siro for the first time since leaving for Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer over the summer. 

And the Euro 2020 hero was targeted with boos and jeers from the crowd as Italy lost 2-1 to Spain in the UEFA Nations League semi-finals. 

What was said? 

“It certainly won’t have pleased him, just as it did not please us. Gigio did well,” Mancini told reporters after the game.

"Donnarumma played for Italy and it was not a club game. 

"This situation could have been put aside for one night and [he could have been] whistled [at] in a possible PSG vs Milan [match]. Italy are Italy and come above all else."

Mancini also spoke out against the hostile reception to RAI Sport, stating that the whistling was an "unpleasant episode". 

'Defeat will help Italy grow'

Wednesday's defeat was the first Italy have suffered in 37 matches, a world-record run which spanned two years and included victory at Euro 2020. 

Spain, meanwhile, move on to face either France or Belgium in the Nations League final, but Azzurri defender Giorgio Chiellini tried to see the positives in adversity. 

“It’s a pity the defeat came in Milan, but there is proud for this extraordinary run of results,” the Juve stalwart told RAI Sport.

“it’s a necessary stage in the growth process for a team that can still do far better. We knew it was a difficult match, we called for patience and clear minds, sometimes you have to accept the opposition is a very strong team that causes you problems.

“It’s a pity, we wanted to continue this unbeaten run, but the fact is this will help our growth process. We almost got it back on level terms when down to 10 men and 2-0 down, so that shows what we’re capable of.”

Italy are back in action on October 10, when they will face the loser of the other Nations League semi in the competition's third-place play-off.

Further reading