With AC Milan’s rivals and the other Capocannoniere candidates scoring goals already in round one, the ball now passes to Rafael Leao who must showcase his ability.
As La Gazzetta dello Sport (seen below) writes this morning, Leao will take to the field tonight at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara to face Bologna with the same No.10 on his back that Dejan Savicevic, Ruud Gullit, Gianni Rivera, Zvone Boban and Clarence Seedorf had.
Each took the number in different situations, and Leao is no different. Rivera wasn’t even an adult when he made his debut with Alessandria, Boban at 21 was already a known name, Seedorf at 19 played in and won a Champions League final.
Stefano Pioli will ask him to send a message to Italy tonight. This season has known stars: Osimhen and Kvaratskhelia (Napoli), Lautaro (Inter), Leao (Milan), Vlahovic (Juve), Immobile (Lazio), Dybala (Roma). They are the candidates for the top scorer.
Everyone started strong, net of the injuries for Kvara and Dybala. A brace from Osimhen and Lautaro, goals from Immobile and Vlahovic, even a brace for Belotti who is hoping for a new lease of life. Now it’s up to Leao.
The test is anything but simple. Bologna are almost the same team as last year, they have the same coach and all the ingredients to get off to a strong start.
In the last Serie A season, Bologna had the best home defence in the league with 14 goals conceded in 19 games, the same as Inter and better than all the others.
That is why everyone looks at the season debut with a mixture of curiosity and concern. Milan tonight will not be the one seen in the last year, they will attack in a different way.
Pioli will ask Leao to play wide as and more than ever, to aim at Posch and to lend a hand in the defensive phase when needed too. Here he can make his first leap in quality: working a little more without the ball.
The combination for the starting attack is written: Pulisic-Giroud-Leao. The target is to spread the goals, but for the Portuguese forward to add more after he bagged 15 goals in the league and 16 in all competitions last season.
He can do more, he can get up to 20 with a bit more malice in front of goal, and he can permanently become Milan’s top scorer. A player worth €100m, like him, can do it. A player with a €170m clause even more so.