AC Milan striker Rafael Leao has discussed how joining the club came about last summer and who has been most influential in his journey so far.
Leao was probably the Rossoneri’s headline purchase of the most recent summer window, joining from Lille for a fee of €28-35million, depending on which outlet you believe. He has showed glimpses of promise but nothing more at present, and currently finds himself on the bench with the in-form Ante Rebic preferred.
Nonetheless the future looks bright for the former Sporting CP starlet, who is the protagonist of the cover interview of the current issue of Calcio2000, and an excerpt from his interview was transcribed by MilanNews.
He began by discussing his emotions when Milan and specifically Paolo Maldini called him to express an interest in bringing him to the San Siro.
“Honestly, I didn’t believe it at first. But then, when I spoke with Maldini, a Rossoneri icon and world football legend, who won many titles, I was very happy,” he said.
“Incredible to have received the call from Milan, it was another of those moments that I will never forget.
“How am I? Very happy. I am proud to be part of this team and to be able to play with these colours. I am happy and grateful to Milan who bet on me.”
Leao then spoke about those who best helped him settle in at the club, and those who he is closest to now.
“Many have been close to me. I got on well with Bennacer, Paquetà, Kessiè and Calhanoglu who helped me and still helps me. Then, of course, also Ibra. Since he arrived, he has given me valuable advice.”
He was asked whether he is intimidated when Ibrahimovic – almost double his age – scolds him on the pitch and in training, just as he does other players who don’t perform.
“No, I don’t see it that way. I know perfectly well that he wants to help me grow and improve. I am sure that by listening to his advice, I will always do better. Being able to train with him every day is a great advantage.”