GdS: ‘Mistakes and magic’ – Milan get the worst and best versions of Leao in Rennes

By Oliver Fisher -

Rafael Leao, for better or worse, always seems to be the centre of attention at AC Milan and that certainly applies to the game against Rennes last night too.

As La Gazzetta dello Sport (seen below) write, Leao is like a human switch. No player like him forces a Milan fan to have four, five, six mood swings in 90 minutes: desperation and joy, annoyance and celebration, desolation and admiration, all blended and served cold on the Brittany evening.

Stefano Pioli gave him 62 minutes and Leao for 57 was among the worst. Then, within thirty seconds, he made the play that this game will be remembered for, picking the ball up inside Rennes’ half and surging into the box, bundling past Mandanda and slotting into an empty net.

In one action, there was everything that Pioli asked of him at the beginning of the season: running with the ball, getting into a good position and showing the kind of composure that a player with his talent should have.

For a few months now there has been a repeated cycle on social media about a player who burns intensely for a few moments, then goes out. Frankly, it is early – very early – to give up because Leao remains one of the players with the most room for growth.

One of the areas he can get a lot better is with his finishing. In Rennes, Rafa wasted two huge opportunities at the start of both halves, the first one a shot straight at Mandanda as he came out during a one-on-one, and then he squandered an even better break by waiting too long to decide.

Leao finds himself in that situation more and more often, and almost always shoots the same way: falling over with a weak shot on his right foot. It’s impossible to know if he stays to do shooting practice long after training, but the rumours from Milanello suggest he could do it more.

Pioli saw the glass full at the end of the match: “Rafa was happy with the passage to the next round and with the goal. The goal is very important for him.

“How happy am I that he scored after recovering the ball? Very, very much. I am very happy with his attitude, he is a strong player who has to work and believe in himself.”

At 24 the definition of being a ‘strong player’ is fine. In five years, if Leao remains that and not one of the best of his generation it will be a defeat for everyone. For him, above all.


Tags AC Milan Rafael Leao


    1. Or if he had the will to improve. No one can force him to be the best if he doesn’t want to. And if he wants to…? Well, he has a weird way of showing that… 😀 😀 😀

      The boy just wants to be a rapper. Not remembered as a/the GOAT.

      1. That’s true. Still. Ronaldinho never tried to improve.

        Not that I’m comparing the two. One is a titan and the other just a random kid from Portugal with a bit of talent

    1. Lazy and Selfish Player !!! He will not improve any further . At one point in the game Puli ran the length of the field from a defensive position to become wide open and Leao ignored him as he muffed his shot and made the wrong selfish decision. Good luck with your Rap career !!!

  1. Be happy;
    We passed the round to the next stage of the Europa Cup, maybe second or third in the Serie A.
    What else could one expect with half a new squad?
    Listen to Dante!

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