Massimo Donati spent two seasons with Celtic and the silky Italian looks back on his time with the Hoops as he describes the rivalry between both Glasgow clubs as “warfare”.
Donati has played in a few nasty Italian derbies in his career but the midfielder states they are nothing compared to facing Rangers.
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Donati speaks with Italian media:
“It’s more than a football match, it’s a rivalry – and it’s also a rivalry from a religious point of view. And that makes it much more fierce than a normal rivalry.
“Catholics and protestants, we know that this thing creates wars in the world. It’s not a war, but it’s a rivalry of this type and therefore is very keenly felt.
“I experienced it with calm because I’m Italian and therefore don’t experience it in the same way. But when you go onto the pitch, or for the warm-up, it’s something magic, something special.
“When you see your fans – or when you see the opposition fans – it was incredible and you just want to give 2000 per cent on the pitch.
“I liked it because if you look at the clubs I played for they were all passionate clubs.
“There are clubs where you know everything is calm, but I like where there’s soul, where there’s a bit of warfare – in a good way.
“I don’t like to be relaxed. I want to have that pressure.
“For all my career I was always nervous before a match, but not for a derby more than any other match.
“I always had the right kind of tension, but that was every game – sometimes even friendlies.
Theres no doubt the big Italian was a very classy player, at times Massimo would struggle with the high tempo and toughness of the Scottish game.
However, in Europe was where Donati flourished, with his beautiful eye for a pass that could rip a defence wide open.