AC Milan legend Andriy Shevchenko helped Celtic sign Massimo Donati

Massimo Donati impressed in Europe for Celtic. Picture: SNS/Bill Murray
Massimo Donati impressed in Europe for Celtic. Picture: SNS/Bill Murray
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AC Milan and Ukraine legend Andriy Shevchenko helped Celtic sign Massimo Donati.

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The Italian revealed that a phone call from the former Chelsea striker set in motion a move to Glasgow in 2007.

Donati emerged from the famed Atalanta youth academy before being signed by Milan. However, he would embark on a handful of loan spells during his time at the San Siro.

The player was on the verge of a permanent return to Atalanta when the surprising call arrived from Shevchenko, who Donati had encountered during his time at Milan, even if it led to an argument with his wife.

“I had just finished a season on loan at Atalanta and the season was very good for me and Atalanta,” the 37-year-old told Si Ferry for Open Goal. “Atalanta said we want to buy you back after four, five years. I said ‘yeah, why not’.

“Then one day in the summer I was home with my mum and dad. I received a phone call, private number, but my phone wasn’t with me, I asked my wife to answer. She answered but no one talked and they put the line down.

“My wife starts saying to me ‘who was that? Why was the private number?’. I said I don’t know and start to have an argument with my wife. Wait, 10 minutes, phone again. Private number. I answered the phone call and it was Andriy Shevchenko.

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“He said ‘listen, do you want to go to Celtic? I’m a friend of one of those on the board at Celtic’. I said ‘yes’, he said ‘ how much do you want a year?’.”

The player was uneasy discussing details and passed his agent’s number onto Shevchenko. Later that summer Donati was signed by Gordon Strachan for around £3 million.

The midfielder would go on to make 50 appearances for Celtic under Strachan and his predecessor Tony Mowbray, winning one SPL title and the League Cup.

Donati called leaving Celtic to return to Italy with Bari as the “biggest mistake of my football life”.

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