Leao praises ‘older brother’ Ibra and talks about derby: “The shirt must be defended”

By Isak Möller -

Rafael Leao has had a few ups and downs this season but many will remember his performance in the derby back in October, when he was fantastic in the first half. And with the derby coming up, it’s another opportunity. 

The youngster has played 25 games across all competitions this season, 17 of them from start, and he has bagged six goals and five assists in the process. Not bad numbers, but the feeling is that he could have done even better.

As mentioned, it remains to be seen if he will get some playing time vs. Inter tomorrow, with Ante Rebic seemingly in pole position for the left-wing. If pace and acceleration are needed as the game goes on, we can be sure that Leao will come on.

In an interview with QS this morning, as cited by MilanNews, Leao spoke about the Derby Della Madonnina and his goals with the Rossoneri shirt. Of course, having been in first place for the majority of the season, the Scudetto is a goal.

On the derby… 

“It must be played with the right attitude. The shirt must be defended, it will be a very beautiful challenge. “It’s important, but the season is also long. Let’s go on the pitch without pressure and be focused. Inter have many quality players, we respect them. But I want to see what we are capable of doing it, it’s the most important thing.”

On the loss to Red Star…

“Pioli tells us that we have to work concentrated and understand where we went wrong. We are a group that has a winning mentality and now we have to react. We are Milan, every match is like a final, to be won. So is the derby. Of course, we would have liked to be in command, but sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t, there are no problems.”

On his success in reverse fixture…

“True, I think it was one of the best performances. Everyone had an enormous desire to win, I played a good match also because I feel very good with Ibrahimovic. For me, Zlatan is an older brother, for how he helps his teammates and takes them aside.

“And then also technically the right advice comes from him, he explains the movements. But the most important thing is his winning mentality. We are all proud of him, because he can be decisive at any time.”

Now he wants a goal…

“A goal in the derby is something that teases me, but it’s more important to win. And if we succeed, I’m even happier. I have many goals. I’d like to win the Scudetto with the Milan shirt. Inter favourites? The derby is always difficult, you have to play first and then let’s see how it ends later. We don’t listen to what they say outside.”

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Tags AC Milan Inter Rafael Leao