CM: An explanation of why Leao’s renewal remains so complicated

By Oliver Fisher -

The saga surrounding Rafael Leao’s renewal has gone on for months now, and it seems to be no closer to reaching a conclusion one way or another. recall how Leao had a big hand in setting up the Champions League semi-final derby against Inter as he assisted Ismael Bennacer for the opening goal against Napoli in the first leg of the quarter-finals and then set up Olivier Giroud’s opener in the second leg en route to a 2-1 aggregate win.

The words of the Portuguese winger after the match in Naples still echo in the fans’ heads: “I’m very happy to be here, Milan is my home (…) Do I want to stay? Yes, but there are other things to sort out.”

The €20m fine owed to Sporting CP remains potentially the biggest obstacle, after Leao unilaterally terminated his contract in 2018 to move to Lille. The player, Lille and even Sporting are not happy with things on that front.

Both teams have asked FIFA for the reasoning behind the €20m fine, with Lille aiming to overturn the sentence to avoid having to pay, while the Portuguese club intend to claim in full what was a release clause of €45m in Leao’s deal in 2019.

Therefore, the fine could be zero, €20m or €45m – three completely different scenarios that can drastically change the negotiations. Whether it’s from a renewal or signing with a new club, Leao would like to obtain the €16.5m plus interest needed to put an end to the affair.

On the other hand, the problem would not arise if Lille were to deal entirely with the payment of any sanction, while Milan remain a bystander because the proceedings do not directly involve the Rossoneri.

Leao wants €7m net per season to renew which is a huge rise from his current €1.5m per year, an amount that Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara are willing to match with a fixed amount of €5m plus bonuses. In short, the salary no longer appears to be an insurmountable obstacle.

However, Milan must focus on matters on the field because qualifying for the next edition of the Champions League is imperative given Leao’s ambitions to play on the biggest stage.

Another complication is that there are three protagonists on Leao’s side: the family lawyer Ted Dimvula, the father of the forward Antonio and finally agent Jorge Mendes, who is working behind the scenes.

Milan remain hopeful they can resolve everything as soon as possible, perhaps even before the double Euroderby, but it is not the definitive deadline. Evidently, the deadline can only be the end of the season.

Upon the opening of the summer window the Diavolo will know whether or not there will be margins to close the renewal, otherwise they will have to consider a sale so as not to run the risk of letting him leave for nothing.

Tags AC Milan Rafael Leao


  1. I hope leao renew his contract 5 years but honestly the chance are too slim . This become more complicated due to his debt to sporting 20m euro . Lille get him free transfer but refuse to pay that 20m euro and want leao pay that amount himself . In my personal opinion AC Milan better pay that debt 20m euro if want leao renew or sell him to highest bid in summer ( if AC Milan refuse to pay leao debt to sporting) . AC Milan only have that 2 choice. If AC Milan failed to get leao renew in summer 2023 , leao will go free transfer in 2024 , that will be huge loss and very embarassing for paolo maldini & massara

  2. stupid ruling, at the initial stage they both agree to terminate his contract why court ruling again. assuming I am the one I’m paying nothing and nothing will happen. what later happened to other players their contract being terminated. sporting gold digger

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