MN: Pioli echoes Maldini and sends clear message to Leao – “His journey isn’t over yet”

By Oliver Fisher -

Stefano Pioli has made it very clear what he thinks the best thing is for Rafael Leao’s future, echoing the words of the technical director Paolo Maldini.

MilanNews write how Leao’s World Cup started with a bang as he scored with his first touch, and now he has the ambition to become a protagonist with his national team in Qatar after helping Milan to a memorable Scudetto win.

However, in the background there is lots of speculation regarding the renewal of his deal expiring in June 2024, with a fine owed to Sporting CP, confusion over who represents Leao, the need for a big pay rise and reports of interest from top clubs abroad.

However, Pioli is convinced that the best thing for the former Lille man is to stay at Milan and work on his craft, because there is still some room for growth.

“He still has to make a leap to become a champion. In the open field he becomes impregnable, but there are times in which we centralise him more and others in which he lowers himself too much compared to what we would like,” he said.

“He is an attacking player, the closer he is to the other area the better he is. But if he stays a few minutes without touching the ball he tends to lower himself. He can play anywhere and he can do everything, he can become even more decisive in the area, I would like him to enter it with more continuity and determination, but if we think of Rafa 2 years ago and the progress he has made…

“He lacks a little something, like many others: he is still young and may not have the full package, but is smart and approachable, but he’s smart and available, I’m sure it will come.”

Pioli’s message is clear and it is very much along the lines of what Paolo Maldini said a couple of months ago in which he said it is better for Leao to stay at Milan.

“I’m sure of two things: that Leao is happy with us and that Paolo and Rafa are talking. So we’re waiting for good news. I love Rafa, I think his journey isn’t over yet,” Pioli added.

Tags AC Milan Rafael Leao
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