CM: Leao arrives at a crossroads – a ‘now or never’ moment beckons vs. Roma

By Oliver Fisher -

After leaving the field to jeers from fans during the first leg defeat against Roma, Rafael Leao has a chance to show he is capable of leading AC Milan in the biggest games.

As write, the future of Milan and Stefano Pioli’s position as head coach will inevitably depend on the return leg of the Europa League quarter-final clash against Roma scheduled for Thursday at 21:00 CEST at the Stadio Olimpico.

Despite being on the pitch for 78 minutes of the first leg defeat, Leao was a symbol of the performance in a negative way because he was never in the game and provided virtually nothing of note.

Some credit must go to Daniele De Rossi, El Shaarawy, Celik and the tactical plan devised to limit his influence, but now in the second leg the feeling is that it is ‘now or never’ for the Portuguese winger, who is at a crossroads.

Leao has so far always struggled to find consistency, to manage the pressure, alternating magical moments with periods of almost total emptiness. Pioli himself, who has always put him at the centre of his project, has poked and prodded him in recent outings.

“Leao must learn to manage these pressures and expectations. He is a player with qualities and talent superior to others. In our environment compliments and criticisms are often exaggerated; he must know that it will be like this for his entire career,” he said.

Leao must be decisive in the most important match of the season. For him it is time prove that he is truly the most important player of the entire squad, also on a contractual level given he is the highest paid played.

Milan consider him fundamental and the CEO Giorgio Furlani reiterated that idea in his DAZN interview: “Leao, Maignan and Theo Hernandez are happy to stay at Milan and have long contracts. He is an extraordinary player and when he wants to be he is unstoppable.”

That phrase ‘when he wants to be’ must be eliminated by Leao, to show that he can always drag Milan along and provide moments that win trophies. It’s time to make the whole world understand that Leao is the phenomenon that everyone has glimpsed.

Tags AC Milan Rafael Leao

1 Comment

  1. When Leao does not play very well and the team loses points, it shows how much Leao is important for Milan. Him O.K., we win; him not O.K., we lose.

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