The exclusion of Rafael Leao from the starting eleven by Stefano Pioli yesterday raised some eyebrows, especially when Sassuolo ran out 5-2 winners at San Siro.
Calciomercato.com write that leaving Leao out of the line-up during a period of crisis such as the one the Rossoneri are going through right now suggests that Pioli sees the Portuguese talent as important but not essential, something that opens up reflections on a future yet to be resolved.
The long-awaited acceleration after the offer of €7m net per season including bonuses was presented to the former Lille star by Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara has not yet taken place.
There are the now well-known obstacles relating to Leao’s complicated situation with Sporting CP and the fine he owes to them plus the commissions that would be owed to lawyer Ted Dimvula – who holds power of attorney – and agent Jorge Mendes.
Now a new problem has arisen and it is the league table: Milan cannot afford to miss out on qualifying for the Champions League if they want to reach an agreement with Leao, and that is why this pause for reflection has come.
The parties will meet again later, with Milan hoping to find a better league position and with Leao hoping to have got his smile back.