Leao discusses celebration vs. Atalanta, working with Zlatan and where he sees his future

By Ben Dixon -

Rafael Leao has recently released an autobiography titled, ‘Smile’, and in the book, there are several anecdotes about his life and his experiences with AC Milan. Today, he spoke about the book and several other topics at an event in Milan. 

On the pitch, there can be no denying that for Leao, it has been a season of struggles. He has not hit the same numbers that he has in previous seasons, which in turn, has been reflected in Milan’s season, where on occasions they have missed the player we know Leao can be.

However, he has still contributed a lot. The goalscoring element of his game has suffered this year, which is clear, with only four goals this year. With that being said, though, he has seven assists and will likely better his best season of assists, needing only two more to do so.

Off the pitch, he has seen success, most recently in the launch of his autobiography, which gives readers an insight into the winger’s life and the experiences he has on and off the pitch.

Today, at an event in Piazza Duomo in Milan, he spoke to journalists about the book and other subjects – his words have been relayed by MilanNews.

Why wear number 10?

“It’s a different jersey, the jersey of players who bring something different to the pitch. I chose it because it’s an important jersey and I felt like an important player…”

The goal against Atalanta, was it one of the most beautiful of your career?

“It’s a goal I wanted to score because I hadn’t scored for five months in Serie A. To do it in a game like that, in front of our fans at the San Siro was different for me.”

Responding to the criticisms…

“Criticism pushes me. Constructive criticism, clearly. Football is like that though, the important thing is how the team is doing.”

Sunday’s performance as a new beginning?

“I have performed well before. I only lacked the goal, I had good games with assists. But when you score goals it’s always different.”

In terms of numbers, have you set yourself a goal between now and the end of the season for goals?

“I don’t put numbers, I always try to help the team. It’s clear that I always want to score goals and make assists, but I don’t have a number”.

How important is Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s everyday life at Milanello?

“An extra person, someone who knows our characteristics well. He has been a footballer, his mentality is very important and helps us a lot.”

What did the coach say to you after Sunday?

“He always expects me to play great games, he knows my qualities. He hugged me after the game because he felt I played a great game.”

Your name is always much talked about in terms of the market, where do you see your future?

“At AC Milan.”

Which player has impressed you the most this year?

“Theo Hernandez.”

The Primavera reached the quarter-finals of the Youth League…

“They are the future of Milan, youngsters with great quality. I want to see them in the first team more often, it’s a project for the future of Milan. They can reach a great level.”

Europa League target?

“Step by step. There’s the first leg against Slavia Prague at home that we want to win to move forward in Europe which is a goal.”

Tags AC Milan Rafael Leao


  1. Rafa’s game us very clearly evolving in the build up phase as well as reading of and understanding the game.

    Pioli is very clearly trying to improve all facets of Leao’s game because he is still far from finished product. I’m guessing next season he will start lighting up the league.

    Especially if Sarri takes over at Milan.

  2. I think a new coach will up the game of many Milan players. I don’t hate Pioli, just think he’s done all he can and we won’t go to the next level with him.

    Look how Sterling and Grealish went up many levels under Pep. Leao has the potential to be top 5 in the world in the same bracket as Mbappe and Haaland.

    The thing I most love about him, is when he’s about to take a shot or sets off on one of his runs, that wonderful smile breaks out on his face.

    We have to keep Rafa and Theo, individually they’d be very hard to replace, but as a unit……impossible

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