MN: Leao is proving he is back to his best in 2024 – what it means for Milan

By Ben Dixon -

The opening half of the 2023-24 season was not a true reflection of Rafael Leao, and whilst his assist tally rose, his goals had dropped below the amount that AC Milan have seen him achieve in the past. However, his start to 2024 has shown he is back to his best, or close to it.

On Thursday evening, Leao scored in a 5-2 victory against Sweden for Portugal, and given he only played 45 minutes, this is an impressive feat. However, he will not have a chance to bolster his international record, as he has left the Portugal camp early for rotation reasons – allowing him to rest further with a busy schedule was also noted as a reason for his departure.

His international spell will have been well received by Milan for several reasons. Firstly, he has returned unscathed, earlier than expected, which is a massive positive considering the magnitude of some of the upcoming fixtures.

More importantly, though, is that he has continued his club form to the National Team and did so with a brilliant goal. As MilanNews writes, in recent months, his goals and assists have increased, which is a positive in itself, but the consistency he has re-found makes him one of the best in the world in his position.

For Portugal, as he is with the Rossoneri, he was a central figure in a short cameo, causing danger at every chance. Whilst the start of his season may not have impressed as much as he has in the past, he is showing signs that he is returning to his best at the right time, with some pivotal fixtures approaching.

Tags AC Milan Rafael Leao


  1. “On Thursday evening, Leao scored in a 5-2 victory against Sweden for Portugal, and given he only played 45 minutes, this is an impressive feat.”

    Scoring 1 goal in 45 minutes, one half of a game, is now impressive?
    Leao is getting treated like he is a kid.
    Leao scored a goal Impressive!, given that he hasn’t scored a goal in 5 months.
    Leao has a shot on target, Impressive!, given that most of his shot are way off target.
    Leao ran back and recovered a ball, Impressive!, given that he is usually just standing and watching full backs run past him free. His fans were asking here for a higher rating after the last game because he had a sliding recovery.
    When it comes to his form, tell Leao that it would be impressive if he is in good form most of the season not only for a quarter of it. That would make him one of the best in his position.

    1. Yh but let’s be honest.Leao needs to score more and be more clinical ofc.But he is the lw with most assists in top 5 leagues this season and just beacause he isnt scoring he gets hate.He is an important part in almost every goal milan score

      1. He gets deserved criticism, not hate, not hate.
        The LW with the most assists!?
        Official numbers from Serie A and EPL:
        Leao has 4g and 7 assists in serie A, Leon Bailey, and Son, ,LWs, have 8 assists each in the EPL. Bailey has 8 goals on top of 8 assists, Son has 14 goals besides 8 assists.
        Salah who plays the same role, a winger, just on the opposite side, has 15 goals and 9 assists.
        Saka 13 goals and 8 assists.
        Candreva, who is 37 years old and plays for by far the worst team in serie A, has 5 goals and “only” 6 assists, 1 less than Leao.
        Giroud 37 years old 12 goals and 8 assists. 1 more assist in serie A than Leao.
        He is getting outproduced by players almost old enough to be his father, but pointing that out Is hate
        People keep pushing this narrative that Leao’s game has improved because he is more of assistman this year, which also isn’t true. They talk like Leao has 20+ assists, not that he has less than he had last year even though he plays with better attacking players next to him this season.
        Leao had total of 15 assists last season, he has 10 so far this year with only a fifth of the season left.
        His goals and assists last season were either in serie A or the UCL. 15g, 10a in SA, 1g, 5a in UCL.
        This season 4g,7a, in serie A, 1g 0a in UCL.
        Luckily for him he got to play vs some low level teams in lower level competitions to pad his stats.
        2 g in Copa Italia vs Cagliari and Atalanta, 3g and 3a in Europa league vs Rennes and Slavia Prague.
        Facts, not hate.

        1. What you probably don’t factor in is how he forces at her teams to bring extra attention to stop him that it creates space for other players to flourish. Pulisic and Giroud are benefactors of that this year.

          Just because he hasn’t got the goals or assists does not mean he is contributing. It’s a team sport not an individual sport.

        2. Ya ya ya…we get it…you hate Leao lol.

          Every post is the same old same old.


          Don’t worry Redbird will sell him soon so you can hate on someone else 😂

    2. You forgot the one where people mention that his presence draws 2-5 opponents next to him which creates space for other who couldn’t score otherwise. That should award at least a rating of 6 or 7 each match.

  2. Once more, not pro-Leao but Just wanted to post something that was posted in Feb, stats still apply plus more.
    These are the stats Leao leads for the team and most by a very far margin:

    Shot creating Actions (SCA) overall per 90
    Shots that create goal scoring actions for others
    Fouls drawn in final third
    Fouls drawn that leads to shots attempted by others
    Completed live-ball passes that lead to a shot attempt
    The previous 4 stats but with goal creating actions other than shots
    Penalty kicks won
    Goal creating actions (GCA) per 90
    Potential goals in passing xG
    Potential assists passing xA
    Key passes overall
    Key passes final third
    Potential assists through crosses
    Crosses per 90 into penalty area
    Dribbles per 90
    Successful dribbles per 90
    Successful dribbles in final third
    Take ons /successful per 90
    Successful take ons that lead to shot attempt
    Touches in the penalty area per 90 (you’d think it would be Giroud no?)
    Progressive carries per 90
    Carries into the final 1/3 per 90
    Carries into penalty area
    Progressive passes received per 90

    So even if he doesn’t have the goals and assists to show, it’s quite clear how much his influence is for our attack. Leads virtually all offensive stars. And this is while he’s getting double and triple teamed every game 🤷‍♂️

    1. 💯💯💯💯💯

      But people just wanna hate.

      It’s kinda funny, all the professionals who actually work in the world of football understand his importance but then you get an armchair fan on this site who thinks he knows more LOL.

      1. True and I’m not even a big fan of the guy but it’s so telling his impact. He takes 2 or 3 players away everytime and as someone already pointed out, Giroud and Pulisic have been the benefactor of that this season. Which is a good thing. It’s a team game after all 🤷‍♂️
        It also doesn’t mean that I don’t think he can’t do better both offensively and defensively though but what I definitely know is that he has the biggest impact for our team. People tend to mistake appreciation of a player with being content with all aspects of his game. A be all end all . Nah, ofc I’d like him to do more but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate that his impact is critical for team success

        1. “I definitely know is that he has the biggest impact for our team”

          Well, actually it’s Pulisic as he has ~the same goal contributions but he defends the whole 90 minutes too.

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