Rafael Leao has insisted that he can win both the Champions League and the Ballon d’Or at AC Milan, explaining his decisions for renewing.
A huge season is coming up not just for Milan but also for Leao, who has so far improved with each campaign he has spent with the Rossoneri, establishing himself as one of the best wingers in the world.
In 2022-23 Milan had a good run to the Champions League of the semi-finals but it perhaps came at the expense of their form domestically and they went without a trophy.
With seven signings through the door and the depth improved, Stefano Pioli’s men will be looking to put that right in the upcoming season.
Leao was interviewed by Ahora o Nunca on ESPN Deportes by the journalist Mauricio Pedrosa and he was asked about a range of topics from his vacation in Mexico to his renewal with Milan.
Thanks for being here, it’s a pleasure to have a world class player! We saw you on vacation in Mexico with the national team shirt, what did you like the most?
“Tacos, I don’t remember the name but Tacos, the ones with carne asada without too much hot sauce. I played soccer on the beach in front of my hotel and… I even tried tequila. A shot, obviously…”
You are one of the most sought after players in the world but you have decided to renew with Milan, why?
“Because they helped me achieve my goals, we won the Scudetto together, and they allowed me to grow as a player. I feel mature, I feel like a leader of my team and I can play all the games of the season with Milan.
“I think it’s the right club to continue with my career and achieve other goals like winning the Champions League or the Ballon d’Or.”
Last year you were close to the Champions League final but you weren’t in great shape, you tried in the second leg against Inter. How do you see yourself doing this year both in Serie A and in the Champions League?
“I think we will have more options, especially in attack and in midfield. Last season we didn’t have many options, in the two-legged match against Inter we suffered from the fact that they changed a lot and had players off the bench who were able to come in and make a difference.
“For next season the direction has changed, the club has made some great signings with Christian Pulisic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek… these players raise the level of the team and I’m very happy to have them inside the team.”
Christian Pulisic has high expectations, he comes from Chelsea, but Luka Romero also plays for Argentina and is half Mexican. Have you talked to Luka? What have you seen so far in Christian Pulisic?
“When Luka arrived he did an interview saying he really likes Rafael Leao… he’s a young boy, a huge talent and in the dressing room I’m helping him to make him part of the team because sometimes I see him a little shy and silent.
“So I try to lead him, to keep him close to me and I tell him that he mustn’t be afraid of anything, that he must take the ball and show why Milan have decided to bet on him.
“I saw Christian Pulisic both at Dortmund and at Chelsea, he’s a player I like because he can dribble one, two players in a row, because he shoots with his right foot and left foot in the same way and because he’s very quick. I think Luka Romero and Christian Pulisic are similar in terms of type of player.”