Italian goalkeeping hero Gianluigi Donnarumma says his ice-cold demeanor after saving the decisive penalty in the Euro 2020 shootout victory over England was because he didn’t know his team had won.
Donnarumma, 22, was inspired as he kept out efforts from Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, while Marcus Rashford struck the post as Italy won the shootout 3-2.
The scores had finished level at 1-1 following extra time at Wembley, after Luke Shaw’s goal for England after just two minutes was canceled out by Leonardo Bonucci’s second-half strike for the Italians.
In the shootout it was Saka’s miss with England’s fifth penalty which ended up being the match-winning moment as Donnarumma dived to his left to keep out the shot at waist height.
But despite handing Italy their first European title since 1968, Donnarumma calmly walked away from the goalline, briefly glancing back at the referee to check that the save had been given the all-clear and only then being mobbed by his teammates.
The composed non-celebration went viral, with football fans on Twitter hailing Donnarumma for being ‘ice cold’.
22 going on 32. Ice cold. pic.twitter.com/fQ1YHqI9pe
But the young star – who was later crowned player of the tournament, making him the first goalkeeper to win the honor – has now revealed why he initially appeared so calm.
“I didn’t celebrate because I didn’t realize we had won,” Donnarumma told Sky Sport Italia amid the wild celebrations back in Rome on Monday.
“I looked at the referee, I tried to understand if VAR had given the OK and I only realized we had won when I saw my teammates celebrating.”
? 3 clean sheets, 9 saves ? Semi-finals penalty shoot-out hero ? Final penalty shoot-out heroUEFA’s team of Technical Observers have named Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma as their Player of the Tournament ???#EURO2020 | #ITApic.twitter.com/HWGnaHLGkK
Having established himself as one of the world’s top-class keepers in six seasons at AC Milan, Donnarumma is poised for a move to French money men Paris Saint-Germain this summer.
“Now, I’ll enjoy the party and then tomorrow I will be on holiday. I thank all those who have given me affection and I hope to have repaid it,” Donnarumma said.
“I have treasured what I have lived and it has become experience. Peace of mind has always been my strength, but experience helps a lot. Both when things go well and when things go wrong.”
After suffering the humiliation of failing to qualify for the World Cup in Russia three years ago, Italy have been transformed into a resurgent force under manager Roberto Mancini.
The Azzurri are unbeaten in 34 matches, in no small part to the brilliance of Donnarumma but also the wily genius of central defensive pairing Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, both of whom were excellent in the final against England.
Italy’s win at Wembley means they have two European titles to add to the four World Cups they have won in their long and distinguished history at major tournaments.