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The brother-in-law of Gianluigi Donnarumma has told Il Mattino he is receiving death threats after posting an Instagram message defending the AC Milan goalkeeper and criticising the club.

Carmine Paoletti said Milan were “clowns” and that people hitting out at Donnarumma, who has said he will not be extending his contract, did not know him.

Donnarumma called Paoletti to tell him not to criticise the club, and although the post was taken down it had already angered Milan fans.

“I did not think that my words would mean so much,” Paoletti said.

“It was just an instinctive reaction when I saw my brother-in-law, whom I’ve known since he was eight, being attacked maliciously by those who used to worship him.

“I was by his side when he played as a child, I was by his side when he cried for joy when his dream came true of playing in Serie A with the club so dear to his heart, and now I see him crying and being hurt.

“I never even thought for a second about opposing a club who have made so much history in football. Even if I am a Napoli fan, I have a great deal of respect for the Rossoneri, but I am a human being.

“I’m not a public figure and I never thought I would get all this media attention. Now I even get death threats delivered to the company that my family are the fourth generation to run.”

Paoletti added that Donnarumma “never said he wanted to leave Milan” and added: “All he did was ask for more time to decide his future considering that he wanted to focus on international duty.

“It was Milan who set him an ultimatum — they wanted an immediate decision. That led to a media reaction, but it was very much forced.”

He claimed Donnarumma “does not want to leave,” saying: “He was relaxed with the contract he has with a year left on it.

“I know for certain that he has never asked [agent Mino] Raiola if there were any other clubs interested in him — he always could only see Milan in his future.”

Raiola informed Milan last week that Donnarumma would not extend his deal with the club, which expires in 2018.

After the news was announced, fans at the European Under-21 Championship threw fake dollar bills at the Italy keeper during the game against Denmark.

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.

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