GdS: Drought ends with a leader’s performance – Leao at his best in Atalanta game

By Oliver Fisher -

Rafael Leao returned to scoring in Serie A last night against Atalanta after a five-month drought, and it was coupled with an excellent performance too.

La Gazzetta dello Sport (seen below) rewinds to September 23, 2023. Milan had just had a poor result at home against Newcastle in the Champions League and had let in five goals in the derby in the league.

Leao, targeted by criticism, took to the pitch with the captain’s armband on his arm and with an acceleration of his split the Verona defence in two, scoring what would prove to be the winning goal.

This, before yesterday, was Leao’s last goal in Serie A. After 155 days, the taboo has been broken but it is above all the overall display that caught the eye.

The play that Leao made after three minutes against Atalanta was simply a masterpiece goal, and perhaps the Portuguese really needed one like this to find his smile again in the league too.

It was a move in which all his qualities emerged: speed, excessive physical power and class. It was a goal – and a game in general – that showed Leao’s full desire to return to the scoreboard and be decisive for his team.

Meanwhile, with yesterday’s goal, he scored his third-fastest goal with Milan but above all he joined Rui Costa in the ranking of Portuguese scorers in Serie A in second place with 42 goals .

It’s a shame that Milan could not find the three points after such a performance, because Leao was a constant danger for Atalanta’s defence which had to repeatedly foul him as a countermeasure.

It is no coincidence that he had the most touches of the season so far on a personal level with 86, and Stefano Pioli stated after the game that it was his peak for 2023-24.

“It is the best performance of the season in terms of consistency. He has always had his plays, but in this match he made them with important continuity and with a excellent job in the defensive phase,” he said.

“It all comes from him and his mentality. He will have to always try to be this type of player because he has the means.” The mission now is to continue like this.


Tags AC Milan Rafael Leao


  1. He looked to have much more freedom spending quite a bit if time on the right and take up more central positions than normal.

    He looked great.

    1. Agreed. Golden Boy has a great night. But even that won’t be enough for some people on here.

      “Why isn’t he scoring more?”
      “Why isn’t he active and hustling more?”
      “Why is he just jogging around?”
      “Why isn’t his head in the game more?”
      “If he cared less about fashion and music, he’d play better”

      For crying out loud….

      1. I’m not the biggest Leao fan admittedly but the numbers still don’t lie. He’s still the most dangerous attacking threat we have .
        And I’d like him to really take his game from good to great. What more can a fan ask for 🤷‍♂️

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