PO Box 306, Glasgow, G21 2AE, Scotland
alora, arrivederci poi ...
So arrivederci Massimo
You once cost £10m
So farewell then Donati, not so much an enigma more a bit of a ponce with a decent pass on him.
Despite the last few weeks it’s difficult to assess the Celtic career of Donati without focusing on words like ‘waster’, ‘passenger’ or even ‘gutless’.
For all of his apparent ability the guy had absolutely no heart for a fight. In terms of skill he’s miles ahead of, for example, Barry Robson, but there can be no doubt that if you’re going to Ibrox you would have the highlander on your team sheet before Massimo any day of the week.
He arrived in summer 2007, pretty much a straight replacement for the previous midfield let-down Jiri Jarosik.
It’s true he did have a CV that included some impressive names from Serie A, but there were rather a lot of loan spells in there. The obvious question was why he had never made it big at any of them, but we tended to overlook that on the basis of giving him a chance to show what he could do in the Hoops.
His first couple of games were decent. He forced an own goal when we trailed at Falkirk in a game we eventually won 4-1.
Next he scored a great equaliser at Aberdeen which set us on the way to a 3-1 win and then he tore Hearts up in a cracking 5-0 win at Celtic Park.
Then we went to Ibrox, lost 3-0 and Massimo was curled in the foetal position behind the goal crying for his Mum.
He vanished. The man who had once been bought by AC Milan for £10m was a complete blouse (insult to injury – he’d been given 18 the number previously worn by Neil Lennon).
From then on he was used only when necessary. He did pop up now and again with a decent contribution (the goal against Donetsk which got us in to the last 16 being the obvious one) but it never led to anything long term. One hard tackle and he vanished once more in a puff of smoke.
During the seven game run for the league he was nowhere to be seen, but he was on the bench the night we won it at Tannadice and celebrated as much as anyone.
The following season was a complete washout. Gordon Strachan had lost all faith in him and he was consigned to the reserves.
I went to watch one of their games at the end of the season. Donati was playing but he was quite honestly the worst player on the pitch. Pub team standard at best.
The arrival of Tony Mowbray promised a clean slate for everyone but Donati seemed to have made up his mind that he was moving on as rumours of a return to Italy began to circulate.
Fair’s fair, he played well in our early season games, especially in Moscow. He seemed to have his appetite for the game back (hell he even won a tackle or two).
In fact, the most puzzling thing was the game at Aberdeen where, during the second half, he had to fill in at centre back.
All of a sudden he was winning the ball in the air, making tackles, playing with some authority. Who was this guy dressed as Donati?
Perhaps removed from the maelstrom of the midfield he could actually begin to read the game, judge his tackles, time his moves better. Who knows?
More likely, the chances are he was told early on that Bari were after him but he had to show them something before they would make a move.
The really annoying bit is that he’ll probably be a far better player in Italy after his time here – not so easily knocked off the ball, able to move the ball quickly and so on.
At his best he could spot a pass and was able to pick out a team mate from 40 yards.
At his worst he would be caught in possession in dangerous areas of the pitch, had the speed of thought of Benny from Crossroads and could often have been a stand-in for David McCallum in his role as the Invisible Man. He also had the most annoying habit of changing hairstyles with a frequency that suggested he had either a hairdresser with too much time on her hands and an experimental nature, or else he had a deep-rooted neurosis.
At least he had the good taste to go out with a bang – his last touch as a Celtic player was to score at the Emirates.
We wish him well back in Italy.