CM: Leao has quiet 63 minutes in new role during Portugal’s comeback win

By Oliver Fisher -

Portugal had to wait until right until the end of their opening game of the European Championship in order to get the winner against Czechia, and Rafael Leao had a mixed night.

According to Calciomercato.com, the win for the Portuguese had ‘two faces’: the disappointed one of Leao and the smiling one of Francisco Conceiçao, who was the hero on the night in Leipzig as he came on and scored the winner in added time.

There was great anticipation for Leao, making his debut at a European Championship after a season with 15 goals and 14 assists in 47 overall appearances for Milan. The Portuguese fans are waiting for an heir to Cristiano Ronaldo, and his potential had placed the forward among the candidates.

Roberto Martinez decided to use him in a front two with Ronaldo but with the license to drift out to the left. However, what ended up following was a performance in which he did little of note barring a couple of surges and a cross that was headed wide.

He got a yellow card for simulation, waved in his face by the Italian referee Guida, then in the 63rd minute the change came with the coach preferred to bring the curtain down on his performance by putting Diogo Jota on after the unexpected goal that gave the Czech lead scored by Provod.

There is still a lot of football left in the tournament for Leao and co. but the levels of the entire team – not just the former Lille man – must be raised.

Tags AC Milan Rafael Leao

16 Comments

  1. Just don’t get injured bro. Looks like he won’t be going Saudi so let’s have him ready to rumble under his 🇵🇹 compatriot Fonseca

    Forza Milan

  2. The formation was 3-4-3 not sure how you came up with a new role lol. He didn’t play as a second striker he played as a winger and he was bad. 120 million and this guy can go,he is just wasting his talent no grinta. His head is with fashion and music. Get Guler, Chiesa and Buongiorno with his money and he will be forgotten.

    1. Guler will not leave Madrid to join Milan… Why should he? Space is just opening up in Madrid for him. The kid is going places. The Portugal coach had the guts to do what Pioli could not do, substitute leao. And his subs brought in the results.

      1. I don’t think he would come either but with Mappe, Vinicius, , Rodrigo and maybe also Endrick and explodes not sure if he will be a starter in the future

  3. Yeah Leao had a pretty bad game. I think he tried but his deliveries were sub par which really hurt Portugal. Also, they lacked players in the box. The midfield would have needed to get in there more.

  4. i must really admit that Leao won’t work as a CF. and this raise the stake even more high. we need a clinical Striker badly🤦🏽‍♂️.

    out so called stars are so average the suck at the first opening of Euro.

    why am i getting the hunger only from Pulisic and we already missed out on Benjamin szeko. this other strikers are clowns

  5. Leao started on the left wing and then drifted in eventually as a SS before being subbed. But was mostly on the wing. It’s not a new role per se. But it is a different setup/tactics. There’s no Theo on the overlap and Portugal’s passing was too slow to take advantage of the doubling/tripling on Leao (sounds familiar?). Leao did have some good moments in the beginning of the game and then they closed him down afterwards by very tight man marking or doubling. If CM bothered to watch the match that is. That being said Mendes did add a different dimension to the attack when they shifted him wider. I was as actually surprised Leao started. Imo he was ok. He had a couple of good chances and created a few as well. Also I don’t really think Martinez is the coach that would get the best out of this Portuguese team given how mediocre he did with a great Belgium team.

  6. Couple of good runs, but that’s about it. His night, for me, was summarized when he ran by the Polish defender/captain into the box and instead of continuing the run, which he easily could have, decided to dive in the box… why??

    Hoping Fonseca can elevate his game, otherwise he seems like he’s in a comfort zone.

    1. His entire career is summarized by attempting to run around a player and 75% of the time losing the ball, falling over or getting tackled. If we receive an offer over 100m I’d take it and run. Leao as a star is a mirage and he’s going to get found out sooner or later. He’s just an above average player with a lot of speed. For 100M we get Chiesa and a striker, and the 70M we already have can be spent on Buongiorno and Wieffer.

  7. The entire team was average and the midfield hardly did anything for him either. Both forwards were isolated. Portugal got lucky winning it. It could have been a draw.

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