GdS: Leao changes style but five-month Serie A goal drought must end

By Oliver Fisher -

Rafael Leao got his name on the scoresheet on Thursday night as AC Milan booked their place in the last 16 of the Europa League, and now the aim is to end his league drought.

As La Gazzetta dello Sport (seen below) write, Leao attracted the attention of Milan Fashion Week as a guest at the Marni fashion show, standing out because of a multicoloured leather jacket that he wore bare-chested.

Now, Milan hope that he will show off at San Siro tonight. The winger’s unpredictability cannot be missing but goals are missing, because when Rafa plays in cup competitions (he averages 0.55 goals per game this season in cups, the same as Giroud in the league) he is electric, but in Serie A the drought is ongoing.

Leao is at five months without a goal in the league, with his September 23rd winner against Verona being the last time he scored. That afternoon at San Siro he celebrated with the captain’s armband on his arm, which Pioli had given him.

That means the Portuguese forward hasn’t scored in 17 consecutive games. Even Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with his knee in pieces, broke his drought quicker: between the goal against Venezia in January 2022 and the record-breaking penalty against Udine last March 13 games had passed (and many fewer minutes on the field).

It is also a question of style, because today’s Rafa is a player who has changed his ways to find himself. He moved away from the goal, he put himself at the service of his team-mates even more than before, as the assists tally shows.

In the 3-0 win over Rennes at San Siro, Leao drove the stadium crazy by scoring the goal that put the exclamation point on the match but also received applause for a nice defensive recovery. In the second leg he got the second equaliser, but missed big chances before that.

Stefano Pioli repeated in his pre-match press conference that he is more than satisfied: “Rafa is increasingly participatory, and he also helps us when he doesn’t score.”

Regarding his position, he added: “Leao will always look for fun and aesthetics because that’s how he is. But he knows well what he needs to improve on. And his improvement must lead him to be more of an attacker, to be in the area more and to score more goals.”


Tags AC Milan Charles De Ketelaere Rafael Leao

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