Roberto Donadoni (1963)

Roberto Donadoni (September 9, 1963) was a graceful Italian winger who was an important link in the golden AC Milan that won many awards in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The midfielder broke through in 1982 in his hometown Bergamo, at the local Atalanta. In 1986 he left for AC Milan, which was on the brink of a golden era. Due to a bribery scandal, the club had previously been reverted to Serie B, but the way up had now started, partly due to new owner Silvio Berlusconi. Roberto Donadoni would become one of the pillars of this superior team, with our compatriots Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard and Ruud Gullit as stars.

Roberto Donadoni was a technically gifted footballer. He was two-legged, had a good passing action and an excellent cross at home. Someone who performed optimally in the attacking team of Arigo Sacchi, in which players such as Franco Baresi, Paolo Virdis, Alberigo Evani and Paolo Maldini also acted. Everything was right about the team, which would dominate for years in Italy, winning the European Cup I and the World Cup in 1989 and 1990. Of course we remember the final against Steaua București in 1989 (4-0), but the semi-final against Real Madrid was almost even more legendary. Partly thanks to goals from the three Dutchmen and one from Donadoni, AC Milan classified the 'Koninklijke' with no less than 5-0.

During the eighth final match against Red Star in Belgrade, Donadoni literally escaped death. After a duel with left back Vasilijevic, he swallowed his tongue. Red Star's doctor then broke his jaw so that he could breathe again. This in all respects bizarre match was then won by Milan with penalties, partly because Mitar missed Mrkela and Dejan Savicevic from eleven meters.

Many awards and successes further, Roberto Donadoni left AC Milan in 1996 to sign a contract with the Metro Stars, which played in the Major Soccer League. He then returned to AC Milan, where he played from 1997 to 1999. He ended his professional career in Saudi Arabia with Al-Ittihad.

Roberto Donadoni played 63 caps for Italy. The 1990 World Cup in their own country should have been the success of La Squadra Azzurra, but the Italians lost in the semi-finals after penalties from Argentina, partly due to a missed penalty from Donadoni. 

After his career he joined the trainers guild. Roberto Donadoni trained the Italian national team and clubs such as Livorno, Napoli and Cagliari, among others. He is currently at the helm of Parma as a trainer.

(Photo – Wikipedia)

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