While waiting for reinforcements from the market, it is important to remember that AC Milan will be able to lean on stars already present in the new season, including Rafael Leao.
Today’s edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport (via PianetaMilan) focuses on the evident growth of Rafael Leao in his first three years with Milan. The Portuguese winger’s smile has always remained the same, but what changed was his attitude, his composure in front of goal and also his physique.
Zlatan Ibrahimović – after his return in January 2020 – took Leao under his wing after seeing his potential to become something special, and now he has developed into a forward worthy of winning the Lega Serie A MVP award.
There has been a physical growth, because when you compare his current physique with the one he had in 2019, the change that emerges is evident. Leao has an enormously increased muscle mass that allows him not only to drive his opponents crazy with his speed, but also with his physicality. His personal trainer Francisco Martins – who also looks after compatriots Ruben Dias and Joao Felix – produced a turning point.
During his first year in Italy he benefited from the advice of his ‘big brother’ Ibrahimovic, while now he emulates his behaviour by being decisive and constantly believing that he can be the one to unlock any game. Leao is still unfinished given he is only 23 years old, but his aim is to keep growing with the team and to drag Milan further in the Champions League.
After 6 goals and 2 assists in 31 games during his first league season (2019-20), the former Lille man is now capable of a season with 11 goals and 10 assists in 34 games, as he got last season. Now, the renewal of his contract – expiring in 2024 – is important, and there is a will to continue together.