Another Milan milestone imminent for Leao: The journey so far and what the future holds

By Oliver Fisher -

Rafael Leao will rack up a landmark in his AC Milan on Saturday night, presuming that he gets some minutes against Fiorentina at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

Leao will in fact make his 200th appearance for the club across all competitions, and he is currently on 53 goals and 47 appearances, which is almost exactly one goal contribution every two games.

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The journey so far

Leao arrived from Lille in the summer of 2019 and after some initial difficulties in adapting to Serie A – in addition to the chaos surrounding the club after the hiring of Marco Giampaolo – the winger has really taken off.

The Portuguese got his big breakthrough with the Rossoneri in the 2021-22 Scudetto season, getting 14 goals and 12 assists. He followed that up with an impressive 16 goals and 15 assists in 2022-23, and this season he has registered 10 goals and 11 assists so far.

He has drawn some criticism this season for having long patches without a goal but in 2024 he has really turned a corner, also scoring for the Portuguese national team over the international break.

Leao’s stats for club and country in 2024 are as follows: 17 games, 7 goals and 6 assists. After signing a long-term renewal last May which made him the highest paid player in the squad, some believe this is the level of consistency he should be at.

In short, he has been a key player for Milan in the last three seasons and given just how good he has been, it’s not exactly surprising that several top clubs are monitoring his situation.

Bold statements

Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with Leao, as Kylian Mbappe looks set to leave, but Milan have a clear stance on the matter. Giorgio Furlani confirmed this in his interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, once again referring to the release clause.

“Rafa has a release clause of €175m but above all, he wants to stay at Milan. He’s fine here, he should be the one asking to leave but he really doesn’t want to. Long live Leao at Milan.”

The CEO also made it clear that Milan will be looking to ‘perfect’ the team this summer. Selling a player like Leao would make it very difficult to perfect the team, so the feeling is that the Rossoneri will keep the stars and build around them.

However, Milan have three players – Leao, Theo Hernandez and Maignan – on whom they will have to ‘make choices’ as per Luca Bianchin. They are so strong that it is clear that calls will come from top clubs abroad, just as they did last summer.

While the Milan management and fan base will of course hope that no bids arrive for any of the three players, given their importance to the side and the project, they are among the best in the world in their position and so offers are almost inevitable.

There is actually a chance that Leao could play a key role in helping to bring in one of the striker targets that Milan want, given that he seems to have struck up a friendship with Viktor Gyokeres.


Tags AC Milan Rafael Leao
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