Leao full of praise for new signings and insists Milan ‘will be even more focused’

By Oliver Fisher -

Rafael Leao has set himself the target of winning the Ballon d’Or one day, which he believes the summer signings AC Milan have made will improve the squad.

Leao has been on a virtually constant upward trajectory since he arrived at Milan from Lille back in the summer of 2019, establishing himself as one of the best wingers in Serie A in 2021-22, and across the whole of Europe last season.

The Portuguese winger is now one of the senior members of the team and is certainly a leader of the attack, so he is tasked with making sure that the summer recruits settle in as soon as possible.

He spoke during an interview on the American show ESPN about a number of different topics from the USA tour to his aims for his career.

On the friendly against Real Madrid: “The atmosphere was really nice and I appreciated it a lot. But you know, playing against Real Madrid is always fascinating. It was useful to keep fit, sometimes when you play with small teams you win 5 or 10 to 0… For us it is very nice to play against big teams.”

On a possible future in the MLS: “No one knows what can happen in the future, who knows? Now Messi plays it, Zlatan did too. He himself told me it’s a competitive league.”

On his development at Milan: “I think last year I could show what I can do on every occasion. I’m more concentrated, I’m realising that I have to do even more in the next one and I want to show everyone that I can still raise the bar.

“When you play for Milan and do well, everyone expects a lot from you. If I did well last year, I can’t think of not doing more next year. The mentality is to never stop.

“But it also comes from the club: they push me every day and in every training session to give my best. They try to show me that I have to be at the top and push myself to be in the Ballon d’Or or in the Champions League.”

On winning the Ballon d’Or one day: “Sure, I’d like to win it one day. All players work for this.”

On the semi-final of the Champions League: “I think it’s a war, because as you said it’s a rivalry of the same city and it was in the Champions League. We didn’t win but I think most of our players last season were all 20-21 years old and to be in that type of game was an incredible opportunity.

“I have no words for this, when I go on the pitch and hear the Champions League anthem in front of my friends it’s a moment I can’t forget. Yes, we wanted to win but each of us was already proud of that journey.”

On learning from mistakes: “We will be even more focused and we don’t want to make the same mistakes. We lost for details and sometimes that is enough to screw everything up.”

On the new signings and the competition: “The new arrivals seem very good, even if I already know some of them. Loftus-Cheek, Pulisic… they are strong, but I think in general we will be even stronger than last season.

“I feel good! This motivates me even more to do better and I know that in some situations the coach will put Pulisic in my position. But in my head I know he has the qualities to help the team make a difference like me in that position.

“So it’s important to have similar high-level players. This is what can help us win trophies. I really like Pulisic a lot, I like people like him who are in no hurry to get rid of the ball. He goes one on one, two or three! He is fast and he plays well with both feet.”

One the comparison with Cristiano Ronaldo: “It’s impossible to compare us anyway, he’s won everything. He is someone to be seen and imitated for young Portuguese.”

Tags AC Milan Rafael Leao


  1. Think one of the reasons he signed a new contract here were guarantees that the team will be reinforced.. Thats good. That means he is hungry to win,
    Competition from Pulisić and Okafor for lw is also good, it will motivate him to keep the starting spot

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