You can define an era - Buffon wishes Donnarumma happy birthday

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AC Milan star Gianluigi Donnarumma received a special birthday message from countryman and Juventus great Gianluigi Buffon.

Saturday marks the 18th birthday of sensation Donnarumma, who has continued to produce performances beyond his tender years.

Since making his debut for Milan aged 16 in October 2015, Donnarumma has become the Serie A club's undisputed number one and he is now seen as the heir to Buffon's throne at Juventus and Italy.

And as soon as the clock ticked past midnight on Saturday, Buffon - 21 years his senior - welcomed the two-time Italy international to football's elite.

"Hello Gigio, It's Gigi. I wanted to wish you a very happy birthday, finally entering the world of greats as the great player you are," Buffon said in a video message released via Sky Sport Italy.

"For this, enjoy your age in the best possible way, the age of maturity.

"You will understand that the world of greats is a difficult one but you have all the qualities, moral and human ones, to create an important space [for yourself], to be happy and define an era."

Birthday boy Donnarumma will make his 60th appearance for Milan against Sassuolo on Sunday.

Donnarumma has featured in all 25 of Milan's Serie A fixtures this season, conceding 29 goals.