Former AC Milan manager Fabio Capello believes that Rafael Leao is not on the level if last season, and suggested that his mind is not fully on footballing matters.
There continues to be a great deal of mystery surrounding Leao’s future as talks are ongoing over an extension of his current deal which expires in June 2024 but there is no agreement yet, despite the public hints from the winger that he wants to remain at the club to continue his development.
Capello spoke during an interview with Radio Rai and was asked for his thoughts on some of Milan’s star players who have struggled for form in 2023 so far, starting with Leao.
“Even if he’s not the version from last year, Leao is always a phenomenon. You can’t leave him out, he’s essential for Milan. At the moment, perhaps like Zaniolo, Leao is ill-advised. His mind is elsewhere: on contracts,” he said (via Calciomercato.com).
We should talk to him, but leaving him out is useless and doesn’t help him. On the contrary, it makes him sadder: he must feel important and be helped by his team-mates as well. There are significant economic problems, there’s this fine of 17-18 million euros that he has to pay and nobody wants to pay. However he and Theo Henandez are players who make the difference, they have something more than the others.”
Tomorrow night will see Milan come up against Spurs and Antonio Conte, a manager that Stefano Pioli knows well from previous battles. The Rossoneri were able to snap a run of seven games without a win on Friday night but will need to go up a gear against if they are to have a chance against the London club.
“Milan showed something against Torino in the second half, because only the Granata were on the pitch in the first half and the Rossoneri stood by and watched. They blamed the change of formation, but that’s not the case: the modules are all valid.
“If you take the field with fear and dread, you have no peace of mind and you play badly, as happened in the first half against Torino. Even Tottenham, in the last match in Leicester, appeared in difficulty. They were missing a midfield and the defensive phase.
“The English side, who have excellent players like Kane, can create big, big problems for Milan. The Rossoneri must be very careful in the attacking phase because, when they have to defend, Tottenham have some problems.”