Rafael Leao was the man who was arguably decisive in booking AC Milan’s place in the semi-finals of the Champions League with his two assists against Napoli over the two legs.
This morning’s edition of Tuttosport (via MilanNews) writes that Leao carried the ball 78 metres on his electrifying solo run at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona to break the Napoli defence apart and square to Olivier Giroud.
It was a run reminiscent of the one that Ruud Gullit did on 1 May 1988 at the same stadium, as he provided for Marco Van Basten in a win which proved to be decisive in the eventual Scudetto win.
Gullit is of course a player who is written in the history of Milan and won everything there was to win, but the Portuguese had led Milan to the semi-finals of the Champions League together with his team-mates and – after winning the Scudetto – wants to tick off more trophies.
Talks and negotiations over Leao’s contract renewal have been going on for some time now and there are some obstacles that have not yet been overcome, but salary does not seem to be an issue as the management have offered €7.5m net per season.
The problem is the signing bonus that they are asking for from Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara, a bonus that would help the player remove the burden of the fine to be paid to Sporting CP in partnership with Lille.
Milan cannot directly intervene and have no intention of doing so, while Sporting CP and Lille have complained to UEFA as the Portuguese club want a sum of €45m but Lille want the player to pay the full amount.
The goal for Milan is to close by the summer but these troubles will have to be resolved in some way.