Leao explains why he is ‘more determined’ now and talks Milan renewal: “I’m fine here”

By Isak Möller -

Rafael Leao has been the standout player for AC Milan at the start of this year and it’s not exactly surprising that the Rossoneri are looking into a renewal. In an interview that was published today, the player himself spoke about it. 

The Portuguese winger has played four games (all comps.) for Milan since the year started, bagging three goals and two assists. Very good numbers considering he had only managed in the seven games prior (counting games when he was available).

As said, it makes perfect sense for the Rossoneri to start looking into a renewal, although the current contract will expire in 2024. In a long interview with Gazzetta Dello Sport (via MilanNews), Leao shared his thoughts on the renewal and many other things.

On his current form…

“Before I wasn’t consistent. Maybe I played a great 15 minutes, then I stopped or did things halfway. Today I have become concrete, consistent over the 90 minutes, I score more and get more assists. I play for a great team, sure, but I’ve changed the way I approach matches.

“I’m more determined. I know Serie A better, I got the right advice from my personal trainer. And I have never lacked the trust of the club, which has always made me feel protected, of my teammates and of the coach. ”

On the importance of Pioli…

“Pioli understood me, he knows that with my dribbles and my moves I can make a difference. Before, he took great care with me in the tactical aspect, I was younger and more undisciplined. Now he doesn’t explain much to me, he trusts me, he knows that I do my part even when the opponents have the ball.

“He tells me ‘Stay wide and challenge your man’: for me, everything becomes easier. I have also played as centre-forward and as a 10, I’m ready to do it again if needed, but on the left is another thing. Pioli thinks I’m like Henry? I thank him for the comparison, we are talking about a great champion, but I want to be Rafa, I want to go my own way.”

On the Scudetto chances…

“We are stronger and more mature than last year. Winning the league is the goal. I’m young, but I feel like an adult on the pitch, and the same is true for many of my teammates. Pioli also repeats it, to me, to Tonali, to Saelemaekers: ‘You are young only on your ID card’. A tattoo in the case of a Scudetto? Maybe yes, let’s see…”

On the games against Juve and Inter…

“Two very important matches but not decisive, the season is long. With Juve it will be difficult, it’s a great team back to scoring points. We need to take advantage of playing at home, our fans charge us even if there will only be five thousand there. We need to start winning again, we are ready, we know we are worthy. How am I preparing it? Their characteristics. But I will also let myself be guided by instinct: I dribble, I have been doing it since I was little, it comes naturally to me.”

On renewing with Milan…

“I have another two years of contract and that’s not nothing. Let’s see, it’s still early, for sure. I’m fine here. ”

Hopefully, Leao will continue to perform on a very high level as Milan sure will need it in the Scudetto race. A well-deserved renewal could be waiting at the end of it.

READ MORE: Pellegri will return to Monaco as Milan fail to reach agreement over transfer

Tags AC Milan Rafael Leao
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