MILAN: AC Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma wrote his name into Italian football history books on Thursday (Friday in Manila) by becoming the youngest goalkeeper to play for the Azzurri.
Donnarumma, 17, replaced Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon for the second half of a friendly with France in Bari that the hosts were trailing 2-1 at half-time.
Buffon, 38, has played for Italy for the best part of two decades but admitted in the days leading up to the match that towering Milan sensation Donnarumma, given his Serie A debut last season by then coach Sinisa Mihajlovic, is the future.
“Donnarumma is a chosen one,” said Buffon.
The match was Giampiero Ventura’s debut as Italy coach, the former Torino handler having replaced new Chelsea manager Antonio Conte last month.
It was also an historic occasion in terms of football regulations, the Video Assistance Referees system being tested out for the first time as part of FIFA’s plans to introduce it worldwide.
Italy, ousted at the quarter-final stage of Euro 2016, begin their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign on Monday away to Israel in Haifa.