New Nantes manager Claudio Ranieri has defended embattled Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma from critics who claim he is betraying his club.
The young Italy international's desire to move to Real Madrid is simply an illustration of his ambition and not motivated by greed, says Ranieri amidst the ongoing drama of the player's refusal to sign a contract extension at the San Siro.
Donnarumma claimed on Sunday that an Instagram post indicating that he would be willing to meet with the Milan board, despite earlier claims from his agent that there would be no further negotiations, was posted by a third party who had hacked his account.
Speaking with Gazzetta dello Sport, the former Premier Legaue winning manager weighed in on the drama surrounding the player, his controversial agent and the Rossoneri board, urging fans to give Donnarumma the benefit of the doubt.
"I am with Donnarumma and Raiola," Ranieri said. "This is nothing to do with money and it is ridiculous to talk about a betrayal.
"The crux of the problem is that the player will only renew his contract if he believes in the relaunched project presented by the new Rossoneri ownership.
"Raiola said long ago, 'A talent like Donnarumma deserves to be part of a great team'. Are Milan on the level of the five or six leading European teams?
"It is not about money because the offer from the Rossoneri leaders is excellent. It is a matter of ambition, a professional career path," the former Leicester City boss added. "If Donnarumma went to Real Madrid he would probably win two or three Champions Leagues in the next 10 years, right?
"It is normal to have doubts, yet they accuse him of being a traitor. If he stays, it will be a tremendous act of love for the Rossoneri world."