PSG, Donnarumma, penalties… Five things to know about Mike Maignan, future No. 1 of the Blues

PSG, Donnarumma, penalties… Five things to know about Mike Maignan, future No. 1 of the Blues

PORTRAIT – Propelled goalkeeper by the international retirement of Hugo Lloris, the doorman of AC Milan does not lack assets to assume this (heavy) succession.

The time has come for Mike Maignan. At 27, the AC Milan goalkeeper has so far only five selections to his credit. Blame it on the presence in front of him of a certain Hugo Lloris, record holder in the French team (145) and unstoppable captain in the eyes of Didier Deschamps. But by announcing Monday evening that he was retiring from international football, the Tottenham goalkeeper opened a boulevard to the former Lille resident, whom he himself dubbed by saying that he feels it “readyto take over from him. Well Named. Discovery in five points of a last rampart of international class.

He dreamed of being a field player

Often the story goes that a goalkeeper is actually just an outfield player with a thwarted fate. Mike Maignan is no exception to the rule as explained by Romain Damiano, who was his coach for almost five years in Villiers-le-Bel where he started in 2004, a year after his arrival in mainland France from Guyana native. “He would have preferred to be an outfield player, that’s why he likes kicking so muchconfided the trainer to So Foot. “Just before the INF Clairefontaine selections, he even told me that he wanted to give up the position of goalkeeper. I managed to convince him and finally he was taken. Of course, he was better than the others, even in the field, but it was in goal that he had the best potential for a career.“A paying choice since in 2009, it was as a goalkeeper that he joined PSG.

A goalkeeper trained at… Paris SG

Like his teammate in Blue Alphonse Areola – not to mention the multitude of outfield players who have made their mark there (Kimpembe, Rabiot, Coman, Nkunku…) – Mike Maignan is indeed a pure product of training Parisian. Except that, despite a talent and a recognized potential, the native of Cayenne will never have played the slightest match for PSG in the first team. At the time, in the years 2013-2014, he was helmed by a certain Salvatore Sirigu, incumbent, and Nicolas Douchez, the Italian’s more experienced replacement. For two seasons, he will be chomping at the bit. And during the summer of 2015, seeing a certain Kevin Trapp sign in the capital, Maignan understood that it was better for him that his future be written elsewhere than at Camp des Loges. As a result, he joined Lille for… a small million euros. Fifteen times less than on July 1, 2021, when LOSC sold it to AC Milan.

In Milan, he made Gianluigi Donnarumma forget

In Lombardy, Mike Maignan must make up for the departure of Gianluigi Donnarumma for… Paris. A complicated succession as the young 22-year-old porter symbolized the future at his post in Italy. Nevertheless, the former goalkeeper of LOSC had for him to take the place of a goalkeeper who left free for PSG, which had the gift of exceeding the Milanese supporters. And somewhere, that undoubtedly facilitated his integration as the rossoneri fans were eager to erase this painful departure. Especially since his first season was going to be a total success. With 17 clean sheets to his name in the league, Mike Maignan played a major role in winning the title for AC Milan, eleven years after the previous one. Praised for his impressive reflex saves and the quality of his kicking game, the Guyanese was quick to put the Boot to his feet by being voted best goalkeeper in Serie A.

A true specialist in penalties

If he had not been forfeited for the World Cup in Qatar, and therefore if he had been present on the bench at Lusail during the final lost against Argentina (3-3, 2 shots on goal 4), who knows if Didier Deschamps would not have taken the risk – or rather tried his luck – by replacing Hugo Lloris with Maignan just before the decisive series of shots on goal? Indeed, the AC Milan goalkeeper cleverly maintains a reputation as an exercise specialist. Since the beginning of his professional career, he has repelled twelve out of forty-two opposing attempts, or about 29% success in the exercise. A rather exceptional figure. Moreover, for the record, Maignan had made his debut in Ligue 1 in Rennes in 2015 by entering in the 70th minute after the expulsion of Vincent Enyeama, then holder with LOSC. And he immediately stopped the attempt of Rennais Paul-Georges Ntep, before doing it again a week later against Rémois David N’Gog. It was enough to start writing his legend in the exercise…

A little physical fragility

If, in Lille’s time, Mike Maignan did not miss a match, except at the start with a shoulder injury that sidelined him from December 2015 to March 2016, the situation has changed somewhat since his arrival at AC Milan. . Prototype of the modern goalkeeper, tall (191 centimeters), lively, excellent in kicking, capable of amazing reflex-stopping, solid in aerial play, the French international has in fact only one potential weak point: his own body. Thus, on October 12, 2021, a first wrist injury occurred which caused him to miss nine matches with AC Milan. And since September 22, 2022, the former Lille resident is struggling to recover from a calf injury that is slow to heal. So much so that the date of his return is now a total mystery, which leaves his coach Stefano Pioli fearing an absence for the knockout round of the Champions League against Tottenham on February 14. Even the return scheduled for March 8. In question, in particular, the desire of the goalkeeper to return to business very quickly, sometimes too hastily which leads to relapses. Perhaps the last quality he has yet to learn is patience.

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