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Born: 26 March 1981
Birthplce: Sedegliano, Italy
International Caps: U-21 (26); none with senior
International Goals: 1; 0
Signed on: 23 June 2007
Fee: Signed for £3M from AC Milan
Left: Signed for £1.5m (€2M) for Bari (Italy) (Aug 09)
|MOTM Winners 2007-08|
|05-Aug-07||Celtic 0 v 0 Kilmarnock||SPL|
|19-Aug-07||Aberdeen 1 v 3 Celtic||SPL|
|Aug-07||Aug-07 Player of the Month|
|19-Jan-08||Celtic 1 v 0 Killie||SPL|
|Jan-08||Jan-08 Player of the Month|
|16-Feb-08||Celtic 3 v 0 Hearts||SPL|
BiogMassimo Donati arrived at Celtic Park from AC Milan after Bhoys boss Gordon Strachan splashed out a reported £3 million for his services in J une 2007.
The Italian central midfielder signed a 4-year-deal with the Hoops and was handed the Number 18 shirt previously filled by former club captain Neil Lennon. Donati had cost Milan £10 million when he signed from Atalanta in 2001. However his career at the San Siro had stalled and he spent much of his time out on loan, including season 2006/07 when he returned to Atalanta. All a bit of a turn for the prodigious talent who at one point was one of the highest rated up and coming players. Trappatoni in particular was an admirer and noted as such on our purchase.
Many fans were enthralled by the signing but was he to match it on the pitch? His first appearance for the Bhoys came on July 5th in Switzerland where he made a winning start as Celtic defeated FC Basel in a pre-season tournament. His competitive debut was not so glorious though as a month later Celtic opened their league campaign with a poor 0-0 draw at home to Kilmarnock. Donati's early form was good however, and his neat passing and vision saw him make a positive early impression on the support. He would seal this pleasing start to his Parkhead career with the equalising goal at Aberdeen on August 19th as Celtic came from behind to win 3-1.
A vital and dramatically late winning goal against Shaktar Donetsk in the Champions League tie at Celtic Park in November put the Hoops on the verge of the last 16 of the tournament but by then Donati's performances had started to slip. Indeed he would be singled out for criticism by the manager after the Bhoys exited the Champions League to Barcelona. He was lampooned by the wags in the Scottish media (e.g. "Off the Ball") and the mud stuck.
Celtic would go on to win the title but the Italian, looking off the pace and out of sorts, had ended the season out of the starting side and behind Scot Brown, Paul Hartley and Barry Robson for a starting berth. Into the important season run-up it was Hartley and Robson who became the central midfield partnership that won us the league. It was quite an embarrassment for both the player and the manager that the two older, more limited ability and cheaper players had combined far better than our expensive purchases. For Donati this should have wakened him up to the task.
The arrival in the summer of 2008 of Marc Crosas saw Donati pushed further out of the first team picture. Seemingly frozen out of the set-up Donati made public his anger at the manager, who he claimed was not prepared to give him a fair chance. Following in the wake of Thomas Gravesen it appeared Donati was the latest big money midfield flop to be signed and then ostracised by Strachan. In fairness to Donati, Strachan had repeatedly failed with expensive purchases (e.g. Gravesen, Jarosik), so the likely problem alone wasn't Donati himself.
His promising start to his Celtic career demonstrated obvious signs of a real talent but those moments were now just a fading memory. He would make only fleeting appearances in season 2008/09 as Celtic surrendered the title to Rangers when he could or should have been given more of an opportunity, although the support was split and many were convinced he was finished. He had said he'd had an offer to go back to Italy but the manager refused. If Strachan wasn't to play him then Donati should have been sold. It was farcical and unfair on the player.
Despite the departure of Strachan in May 2009 the return of Donati to Italy seemed inevitable.
However new Celtic boss Tony Mowbrary vowed to give all players a chance to impress and the manager would soon be singing the praises of Donati who now declared his desire to remain in Glasgow. Indeed as Celtic's pre-season preparations for the 2009/10 campaign progressed Donati was back in the frame for a first team start. With Scott Brown still not fully fit, Donati was selected in the starting line-ups for the crucial Champions League qualifiers against Dynamo Moscow. The Italian performed admirably and his excellent form saw him become an early stalwart of the Mowbrary regime.
At the end though, Italian club Bari came in for him in Aug 2009 and he opted to take it and the club decided to accept the offer. Shame as he'd begun to win over a number of people. He'd begun to show just what it was thought he could do. He signed off in his last game with a last minute goal against Arsenal in the Champions League which we lost, and he gave a fair account of himself. Maybe if WGS had worked better with him then we could have unlocked his long-time potential. Maybe Bari will do it.
We hope him all the best. He'll be remembered best for the late winning goal against Shaktar as well as for his changing hair colours (bizarre at times).
|Club||From||To||Fee||League||Scottish/FA Cup||League cup||Other|
|Celtic||23/06/2007||31/08/2009 ||Signed||26 (5)||3||3 (2)||0||4 (0)||0||10 (4)||2|
|Atalanta||01/08/2006||Loan||No appearance data available|
|Messina||01/08/2004||Loan||No appearance data available|
|Sampdoria||01/08/2003||31/05/2004||Loan||No appearance data available|
|Torino||22/01/2003||Loan||3 (1)||0||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0|
|Parma||04/08/2002||11/11/2002||Loan||4 (2)||1||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0|
|Milan||01/07/2001||23/06/2007||Signed||6 (11)||0||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0||5 (2)||0|
|Totals||£0||39 (19)||4||3 (2)||0||4 (0)||0||15 (6)||2|
|goals / game||0.06||0||0||0.09|
|Bari||Italian Serie A||5||0||1||0||5||2||16||7||1||0|
|Celtic||Scottish Premier League||2||0||0||0||1||0||3||3||0||0|
|2009/10 Season Totals||7||0||1||0||6||2||19||10||1||0|
|Celtic||Scottish Premier League||2||2||0||1||0||0||1||3||0||0|
|Celtic||UEFA Champions League||0||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0|
|Celtic||Scottish CIS Insurance Cup||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2008/09 Season Totals||4||4||0||1||0||0||2||3||0||0|
|Celtic||UEFA Champions League||7||3||1||0||6||4||6||9||1||0|
|Celtic||Scottish Premier League||22||3||3||3||32||18||23||23||8||0|
|2007/08 Season Totals||30||7||4||3||38||22||29||32||10||0|
Honours with CelticScottish Premier League
Massimo Donati is heading back to Italy after several years spent plying his trade in Britain. Steve Wilson bids him a fond farewellI am going to break with standard journalistic convention and reveal my allegiance. I am a Celtic supporter – faithful through and through – and so it was with mixed feelings that I took on board the news that Massimo Donati had agreed a four-year deal to leave Parkhead to join Serie A new boys Bari.
On the one hand I am pleased for the player, if he had a hankering to return to the peninsula then it is certainly for the best that he has found a new home. With the greatest respect to the Puglians, playing for a relegation-haunted side will be a different prospect to challenging for titles and competing in the Champions League with the Hoops.
With the experience he has picked up playing for the Bhoys in their big matches at home and abroad he should prove to be a valuable asset and a star performer for his new employers this season. I will now be keeping an extra eye out for them and my fingers crossed that they finish 17th or above.
At the same time it is a shame he has returned home without ever really making the kind of impression he should have in Glasgow. He won’t be revered in the Biancoverdi Hall of Fame in the way compatriot Paolo Di Canio is, yet he is likely ranked a little above Enrico Annoni – a hard-working but limited defender who, according to ‘Tic legend, was once welcomed on to the pitch as a sub by one fan with the line: “Aww no, nae Annoni on anaw noo.”
The disappointing thing is that over pre-season and the beginning of the new term, under Tony Mowbray, Massimo has looked revitalised and vastly improved. His neat dribble and goal against Al Ahly in the Wembley Cup put a smile back on his face and his peach of a volley – fittingly with what turned out to be his last kick for the club – against Arsenal on Wednesday raised cheers from the visiting support despite it being nothing but a consolation.
Rarely featured under previous manager Gordon Strachan, it is easy to forget that this is a player who once cost Milan £10m. What will never be forgotten by Celtic fans is his sensational 90th minute goal against Shakhtar Donetsk in the 2007-08 Champions League that ultimately put the club into the last 16. That strike earned him an eternal place in the hearts of Celts the world over. Buona Fortuna Massimo and ‘Mon the Galletti!
Massimo Donati hails Celtic fans as he clinches £1.5m Bari transferAug 31 2009
MASSIMO Donati last night thanked Celtic and their fans after quitting to return to Italy.
The midfielder - who completed a £1.5million move to Serie A side Bari at the weekend - paid tribute to the Parkhead club.
He said: "I am grateful to Celtic for granting my wish to go home. I always had good relations there - even last season when I wasn't getting a game my problem was only with the coach, not the club.
"I will especially miss the fantastic supporters and the atmosphere they create. We can learn a lot from them in Italy."
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