MN: The negative side of Milan and Leao’s symbiotic relationship emerges again

By Oliver Fisher -

Rafael Leao is receiving some criticism for his performance against Newcastle United, in particular the big chance he missed in the first half, but it is important to remember that he is not yet the finished article.

MilanNews recall that the path of Leao and that of Milan to date has gone hand in hand. A constant and continuous growth, with some psychologically tough periods and a few small steps backwards, only to then resume the road towards the aim: to become among the best in Europe.

Leao arrived at Milan in 2019 as a talent who needed some refining, at a time when the Rossoneri were a club trying to make their way out of some very difficult times economically and from a sporting perspective.

Milan becoming competitive again allows Leao to compete with the best players in Europe, while the winger expressing his potential allows Milan to become competitive again. It is a symbiotic relationship.

Of course, it’s not just Rafa because there are many components that have allowed the club to get back on track and fight at such high levels again, from Stefano Pioli and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the other members of the young core that has now grown up.

Milan and Leao continue to go hand in hand, for better or for worse and they have reached the top again, probably even faster than expected.

The seasons have gone as follows: Champions League qualification, Scudetto, Champions League semi-final. Leao’s campaigns have gone as follows: 10 goals and assists, 10 goals and 10 assists, more than 15 goals and more than 10 assists.

As his levels rise, expectations also rise. It’s the nature of man and of the fan. After victories and triumphs, more victories and triumphs are expected otherwise it seems a relative failure.

When Rafa fails to make an impact in the first Champions League of the season, despite remaining in the game and creating chances, a wave of criticism arrived.

However, intelligence is directing these criticisms to the performance, the situation and the context. When Leao gets that next big chance, everyone knows that he will probably take it, just as he did the game prior against Inter.

Tags AC Milan Rafael Leao


  1. We have seen this again and again in the last few years. This over dependency on Theo, Leao and Giroud is killing our momentum. Even if Okafor and Jovic perform well against Verona and Cagliari, Pioli will start Giroud against Dortmund, which would be stupid. Dortmund is a far stronger team compared to Newcastle. They have home advantage and playing against the yellow wall wouldn’t be that easy as some people are claiming.

    1. Sensible view. Pioli, if he’s smart enough, can use Rafa in set pieces. I don’t think that clown. Aka Pioli, has technicality to set/use set pieces properly. Like what a hell he let Krunic takes ever corner? Krunic is not a play maker for fk sake. Another one, why he waited to 60 minutes to make effective changes?? Pioli is Milan the biggest obstacle. If you can’t see it, results show it

  2. Meh, i said i will not be so critical towards him this season but he is not making it easy.. well, still a ton of games to go so lets wait it out before overanalyzing evrything

    1. Its not really being overly critical when a player tries to heel a goal in against a team when 0-0 and there many people on the line when he should be critical himself and at least shoot directly when that sort of chance occourr, but thats that bad judgment from him in that situation or at the very minimum an overly confident choice made by him.

      1. Maybe it is. A lot of players had a better option than shooting in that game and none took it. Not even once. So we end up with 25? shoots and 0 goal..
        And then people say Milan played well..
        I don’t even care he tried a stupid heel goal. I do care he sat on his ass for 30+ seconds after he fallen over tho.. get up and cover somebody or at least make yourself available if milan starts a new attack… sitting in offside does nothing

        1. there was other incidents as well chukwueze header, chukwueze in a position where he should have played a bit backwards for an open chance and there was others as well from other players but that doesnt give leao absolution either, but that happens.
          I agree though in regard of fighting mentality in regard of players not trying to continue and instead trying to get for example a freekicj, One of the things ive always hated about italian football has inddeed been that and that goes beyond leao.

          1. that becomes a problem in cl when refs wanna keep the game flowing unlike in italy where its more technical and players make that ‘nani’ face when they dont get a faul.

    1. Are you really watching the game against newcastle? Florenzi, Musah, Puli really own the right side while we know what happen in the left

  3. He’s very good at ****ing around, that’s why he’s so good to watch. But sometimes, he should know when he should **** around and when he should stop. Someone should tell him he should stop ****ing around now.

  4. No ooo the reason leao has not been performing is because he is not used to the 4-3-3 but he’s used to the 4-2-3-1 were there is no left midfield that allows him to destroy opponents easily infact Pioli is just Good I blame Pioli for leao in efficiency because he knows that 4-3-3 isn’t the best and is falsing Pioli to adapt to that system which is wrong.

  5. It’s not only 1 game vs Newcastle.
    This is Leao’s 3rd season in UCL and so far he has scored a total of 2 goals.
    If you talk to a football fan who isn’t following serie A on weekly basis, most don’t even know who Leao is because if we are honest, Leao hasn’t done anything outside of serie A. Be that with Milan in Europe or with his national team. He isn’t even a starter for his NT.
    If he wants to be considered a top player, he needs to show up in big games vs. top competition, not just stat padding vs. low-level clubs like Verona, Sampdoria, and such.

  6. There is no room on the field for a player who only plays half of the field. Compare Ronaldo’s defensive work rate and ability to press against Leao’s non-existent effort. Leao will never be at a high level if he continues like this.

    Leao’s effort reminds me of Balotelli, to be brutally honest.

    If Leao doesn’t feel motivated to hustle then he is wasting a spot in the starting lineup. In that case start Pulisic on the left and Chuk on the right.

    1. I agree on the issue of his defensive quality but lets face it, how many of the new midfielders track back? Leao missing against Newcastle is painful but, lets give the young man a break, he need encouragement, Mbape missed loads of goals against Dortmund, no one crucified him

  7. All the blame is on Pioli to be honest because while it seems like he has taken us to glory, he has reached his ceiling as a coach and cant do more.. I have never seen a coach who cannot do the basic things.. why is a 37 year old Giroud starting 5 games in a row while Okafor and Jovic cannot see game time? why is pobega starting over musah, why is pobega even starting at all? why is krunic taking all our set pieces and what is he even doing in milan in the first place? why do we do subs so late and considering all the shit leao played, shouldnt he have been the first person to get subbed off? these are the issues that have continued to plague us since Pioli took over the reins of this club.. he benched leao and rebic until bonaventura died, kalulu until romagnoli got seriously injured, krunic to play 10 and left wing at times when there were better options, and many more absurd decisions.. as funny as this may sound, if this club is to move forward, Pioli has to leave, he just has to go, he has done his best, and I am still convinced that his journey with milan has been more of luck than his coaching abilities

  8. The match vs Newcastle showed us that Leao should not be a Trequartista who take a long time with ball and relied to his Technique. Leao’s best role is showing his speed, agility, & finishing. Plays fast * effective. Like Thierry Henry. So i think we should change to 4-3-1-2 with Leao go more center as Advanced Forward who always ready to receive the through ball, ready to run wide or cut inside for then shoot. A world-class player always enjoy play at center, and Leao should enjoy it too.

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