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Gianluigi Donnarumma Targeting Champions League Football with AC Milan

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 10, 2019

MILAN, ITALY - MAY 19:  Gianluigi Donnarumma of AC Milan greets the fans at the end of the Serie A match between AC Milan and Frosinone Calcio at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 19, 2019 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)
Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma is hoping the club can qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season after missing out by one point in 2018/19.

The Rossoneri finished fifth in Serie A on 68 points, while Atalanta and Inter Milan each accrued 69.

The 20-year-old told Milan TV (h/t Goal's Stephen Creek):

"It's upsetting that we won't be in Europe this year but as our coach and director said, we can now focus on returning to the Champions League, where the club deserves to be.

"We were qualified for the Champions League with just 10 minutes to go but we all know how it ended.

"We were all disappointed but it has to be a boost for us to achieve our goal this year."

Milan finished the season with four consecutive wins, including a 3-2 victory against SPAL on the final day.

Inter looked set to draw their final match and finish behind their city rivals when Empoli's Hamed Traore scored in the 76th minute, but Radja Nainggolan netted a second goal for the Nerazzurri five minutes later to secure a top-four finish.

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Milan were set to play in the UEFA Europa League, but they will be banned from European competition next season for breaching UEFA's financial fair play regulations, per Tariq Panja of the New York Times:

tariq panja @tariqpanja

Appears to be clear now, AC Milan have “chosen” to be banned now (given they’ve missed out on Champions League), so will now avoid risk of missing future Champions League for now. https://t.co/f5hhpqhnmg

The Rossoneri have a long and storied history in Europe's elite club competition, and only Real Madrid have won more than their seven titles.

However, their most recent Champions League appearance was in the 2013/14 season.

Every other team who finished in Serie A's top eight last season will be involved in European competition next term, so Milan should be fresher than their rivals in the battle to finish in the top four.

If the league is as close as it was last season, that freshness could swing the race in the Rossoneri's favour.

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