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Roberto Donadoni: the elusive sprite of the invincible Milan
The current coach of Parma was a pillar of the great side that dominated the world between the 80s and the 90s
The fact that Silvio Berlusconi made him one of his first purchases when he took over power at AC Milan in 1986 tells you how good this tricky little winger was. Weaving up and down the wings for home town club Atalanta, Donadoni had four very impressive season in Bergamo.

He made just shy of 100 appearances scoring five goals. His career really took off in 1986 when 23 year old Donadoni left Atalanta for the bright lights of Milan. President Berlusconi’s exciting new project ahead and Roberto was to be integral to it. He was a small, slim, tricky midfielder usually played out on the right wing. He was great to watch, an old style winger, he had skill, feints, bursts of speed, crossing, shooting, phenomenal technique.

In fact he had everything and it didn’t take him long to cement his place in the Milan team. It wasn’t long before Donadoni helped bring success to Berlusconi’s ‘New Milan’. Firstly under Arrigo Sacchi Milan won the 1987/88 Scudetto, Donadoni played alongside greats like Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit & Franco Baresi. Berlusconi’s new project was well underway and Milan with Donadoni at the heart of it they scooped the 1988/89 European Cup blowing away Steaua Bucuresti 4-0 in the Final.

At the start of the 90’s Donadoni would experience change at Milan with coach Sacchi leaving for the national team. He was replaced by Fabio Capello but success continued as Milan dominated at home and on the European front. Roberto was a key member of Milan’s ‘Gli Invincibili’ (The Invincibles) as they went a 58 match unbeaten run in 1991/92 and with a defence that included Baresi, Costacurta and Maldini. The exciting winger won three consecutive Scudetti between 1992 - 1994 as well as three Champions League finals in a row.

One out the three was the infamous game when they destroyed Barcelona 4-0 in the 1994 final. After the 1995/1996 Scudetto Coach Capello was off, it would also see the end of Roberto Donadoni’s 10 incredible years in Milan after almost 300 appearances. MLS franchise ‘The MetroStars’ made Donadoni their centre piece when he joined in 1996. It was a step down but it was no wonder that Donadoni was the outstanding performer. He played well for the MetroStars but this did not provide the club with any success.

In 1997 Donadoni went back ‘home’ to Milan. He played like he’d never been away as he instantly turned in performance after performance helping them to yet another Scudetto, it was Donadoni’s sixth.

Donadoni left Milan in 1999 a true club legend spending more than ten years of his career there. He helped them win six league titles, three UEFA Champions Leagues, three UEFA Super Cups and four Italian Super Coppas. He retired from playing in 2000 after a brief spell with Al-Ittihad of Saudi Arabia.

He has now turned his head to coaching and after tough spells at Italy, Napoli and Cagliari to name a few, he has now settled. Many are now seeing his enjoying his skills again as he attempts to bring back the glory days to Parma.

When Calcio Ruled the World Roberto Donadoni was dancing up and down the right wing at the San Siro.
By Giovanni Dougall

This article was originally published on The Gentleman Ultra- - Richard Hall’s blog on the past and present of Italian football. You can follow him on twitter @Gentleman_Ultra

Tuesday, April 29 th, 2014
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