GdS: Jeers, chants and Maignan’s rage – Leao’s strange night at San Siro

By Oliver Fisher -

Rafael Leao left the field to boos last night after a difficult game against Roma during the Europa League first leg defeat at San Siro.

La Gazzetta dello Sport recalls the 78th minute, when Stefano Pioli decides to freshen up the attack and called Leao to the bench to replace him with Noah Okafor. There were lots of boos, roughly from three of the four sides of San Siro.

The first question that arises in the press area: were the whistles for Leao’s performance or for Pioli, who took of someone who in theory had the potential to create something from nothing and bring the Rossoneri level?

The question is legitimate because if the answer is the first, the thing cannot go unnoticed and acquires a certain weight: Leao has already been booed in the past by San Siro, but never with this intensity.

The feeling though is that those whistles were more for him than for Pioli (or maybe both), at the end of one of the Portuguese’s dullest performances ever in proportion to the importance of the match.

He was simply never in the game and did not show even a flicker of his usual spark, and ‘not even the feeling that he wanted to try’ as per the report. El Shaarawy and Celik doubled up on him well, while Milan as a team were ‘unrecognisable’.


At a certain point in the second half Maignan also shouted and gesticulated at Leao for not having followed the Giallorossi’s counter-attack. Mike went to the edge of the area to make his thoughts known, without getting any reaction.

When he left the pitch under the boos (exiting very slowly, despite the 0-1 scoreline, which also may have annoyed the fans), the Curva Sud then intervened and sang their song about Leao, so as not to make him feel alone and not to let this bad performance generate a plenary condemnation.

They were whistles that must have left their mark on the Portuguese, who did not join the rest of the team at the end of the match under the Curva. Of course, this is often the fate of those who have such a weight of expectations.

Leao seemed on edge after the game too as he had a verbal altercation with a journalist in the mixed zone, although the background behind what happened is not fully known.

For the record, before this match he had amassed three goals and two assists in the four previous outings. Now, he must put things right in a few days and – above all – next week in the capital.


Tags AC Milan


  1. Well people work for their money and to be able to support the team with attending games and buying merchandise.

    It’s only right they show their dissatisfaction when highest paid player on the team doesn’t perform or better yet shows lack of effort as he did last night.

    He has no right to be disheartened. He should accept the boos as deserved, put his head down and work hard while remember who pays for his salary.

  2. I thought after retaliating against Cassano’s comment on social media, he would be fired up on the field as well. Alas, the exact opposite of that occured instead.

  3. Leao is a good player but I think what he needs to do to become better is to start demanding for the ball. When you just stand there waiting for the ball you get double-marked before the ball gets to you but if you’ve noticed their tactics then the least you can do is to move around and get people out of position thereby opening space for your teammates. When nothing is happening, you see the likes of Messi or Mbappe or Ronaldo drop deep to demand the ball and make things happen. If Leao is satisfied with what he is now then I’m afraid to say there’s no other growth to expect from him. Even his shooting still needs some work but then again football isn’t as easy as it is on the PlayStation.

  4. We lack character in this team. For all their talent the mentality is missing and there is no one there to slap them when they fall asleep, Leao can walk around all match like its nothing. Really need leaders, team as become so depressing to watch. Miss Zlatan out there

  5. You could tell Leao was definitely frustrated at himself. It showed. Maybe he was trying to prove Cassano wrong on the field but couldn’t (instead of clown emojis)… I don’t know.

    I hope angry Leao shows up in Rome.

  6. Leao is a very good player but he will never become world class although he’s paid like he is. He just doesn’t have the mentality of a champion. He’s already making books as if he’s special when he’s won nothing but a gifted scudetto.

    1. Exactly, and this was what Cassano was talking about. Leao already sees himself as a legend, a phenomenon but he is not. He is too inconsistent and that does not even bother him. He needs a reality check. He is good but nothing really special about him. Then for Pioli, he ought to have been sacked last season so that’s on the management. The only reason Furlani wants Pioli to remain as the manager is because he does not know anything about football. We can all see that Pioli is not a spectacular coach. He had over 25 years to learn yet he’s still mediocre. Say all you want about Motta and Alonso, they will get better as they gain more experience.

  7. Police should have made changes from the 64th minute. It was obviously the three upfront couldn’t mount anything. They were marked out and nothing changed throughout the game tactically. Roma didn’t play an exceptional game. It was an off night for the starting 11.

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