O Jogo: Leao’s father, intermediary and former coach behind Al-Hilal’s €100m+ swoop

By Euan Burns -

Rumours suggesting that Rafael Leao is of interest to Saudi Pro League side Al Hilal are being pushed by his father and agent, Antonio Leao.

Reports emerged in Portugal from O Jogo (via Milan News) which confirmed there is serious interest from Al Hilal in AC Milan’s Leao.

The suggestion is that the Saudi Arabian side are not phased by the €175m release clause that Leao has in his contract, which no European club is expected to get close to this summer given the poor season that the forward endured.

Al Hilal would be able to offer Leao a far greater salary than what he receives in Milan and they think he can help them win the expanded Club World Cup.

The report suggests that Antonio Leao, Rafael’s agent and father, is central to the negotiations and they could intensify in the coming weeks.

Another key part of the potential deal may be Mario Rui, a Portuguese agent with links to the Saudi Royal Family who helped bring Neymar Jr and Otavio to Al Hilal last summer. As well as that, Al Hilal’s coach is the Portuguese Jorge Jesus, who was Leao’s first coach at Sporting at the start of his career.

Tags AC Milan Al Hilal Rafael Leao


  1. We already put our expectation to him for many years, and i think its time let him go and use the money to get 3 star players
    1 striker 75m
    1 winger 50m
    1 defensive midfielder 50m

  2. I don’t care if Milan sell Leao because Pulisic is a natural LW and already a good replacement.

    As long as Milan reinvest the money from player sales to strengthen the starting 11 and the bench with top quality players then all is good.

    Noslin from Verona is a good cheap backup for Pulisic on the LW and on the RW Milan should go for Lille Edon Zhegrova to compete with Chukwueze on the RW.

  3. No issue here, there is a release clause, Milan will either have Leao or 175m which is still a very very high fee.

    1. The relesease clause just means the other club can approach the player regardless of our decision. Otherwise they’ll have to give us an offer we can accept. I’ll be happy with 90 mill to be honest

  4. As a father, why the hell would you do that to your kids career. But now it makes a lot of sense why he is the way he is. He better not kiss his new teammates in Saudi as he loves to do so much here, you get thrown in jail for that there.

    1. if he gets a 50mill salary … all he needs is one year there and he’ll get enough money to cover his entire career in Europe. Money of that magnitude means not having to care where you play the rest of your life.

      He can choose to retire and play in the Kings League if he feels like it, or play at Sporting for a low salary or do whatever he pleases

      Also as far as I can tell, he has other interests (music, fashion, etc) so I wouldn’t be surprised if those end up taking higher priority than soccer

      1. “if he gets a 50mill salary … all he needs is one year there and he’ll get enough money to cover his entire career in Europe. Money of that magnitude means not having to care where you play the rest of your life. ”

        Again with the “money is everything” crap… Even Leao has already earned enough to finance his family’s life until grave and beyond. I’d bet 90% of the legends would have said “No thanks” to Saudi-money. I mean the GOATS like Pele, Beckenbauer, Baresi, Maldini etc.

        Hats off to the guys who played football because they loved the game – and not the dollars. Those were the days.

        1. To be fair, there was never that much money in those days. Nor was there any social media. And men behaved like men.

    1. Every new signing from last summer has contributed in some way, apart from Romero who’s more of a prospect anyway. They might not have doubled their value but I don’t think any of them lost value or can be written off. Even Musah and Chukwueze we can’t say were bad signings, both have shown plenty of promise for the future.

      1. Yeah the last summer clearly showed Milan does know how to sign players. Almost all were successful. Musah got better and better. Chukwueze still needs to prove himself.

  5. Sell for €175M and give Mbappe €200M over 4 years (€50M/year). At the end of year 2 after you’ve spent €100M on his salary, sell him for €300M and then building your team for the next 10 years by investing into players that range €40-60M and set yourself up!

  6. It will depend on Leao’s ambitions (and how much the management will push him). If Leao wants an actual career as a footballer and entertain the life he generally enjoys in Milan, then moving to saudi arabia will make 0 sense. If he is blinded by whatever money is given to him, then he will unfortunatly succumb (assuming the rumors are true of course) to the temptation that made Henderson, Savic,… go there.
    I juste hope the management won’t try to push him through the door.

  7. If he goes to Saudi Arabia it shows exactly where his heads at. Not to be the best but to make money. If he does go and get lookman, great player.

    1. I agree that Leao already makes more money than most mortals and that is why choosing to play in a mediocre league would be baffling to me. But it is also true that he makes what average players or less make in the Premier League, he is paid well below what the market can bear for him. And it is also very likely that after a year or even 2 or 3, he would have the age to try to come back and play at the highest level in europe.

      Selling him for an absurd amount of money is the right thing we could do if it is true. Just like selling Kaka a year or 2 to RM after the first Man City offer was a mistake, since his best was already behind him and ACM got half of what City offered.

  8. Well if Rafa agrees to move to Saudi league, it means he lacks ambition and getting 175 for him would be great if reinvest that money smartly. Could find quality CD, replacement winger and one midfielder for that price, add money from permanent transfers of loaned players and can sign CF.

  9. I think Milan should sell if the new coach wants to press and expects his wingers to play defense. Leao does not do that and it’s his primary weakness.

    What are we going to do if the new coach wants to play wingbacks? We have a team built currently around wingers and fullbacks. It’s almost like if the new coach is a wingbacks guy, we should consider selling both Leao and Theo. I’d rather keep Theo, because I think that he’s one of those guys who creates a problem that warps the other team’s defense. Leao creates problems for the other team’s defense, but also creates problems for our defense. If it’s wingbacks, I think I might move Theo to left center back in a back three, Tomori to right center back and Gabbia in the middle. I think I’d like to play an attacking left wingback mostly high and wide in that setup, at least with the current team. Would Leao track back when asked in that setup? It would also eliminate our need for a true 6. Play a box midfield with inside forwards/attacking mids, probably two of Pulisic/Okafor/RLC, then 2 of Reijnders/Musah/Bennacer in the pivot at the back. I don’t know who plays right wingback. Florenzi seems like a natural choice.

      1. Kvara isn’t one season wonder, he can easily become top 3-5 at his position. Whole Napoli sucked this year, but Kvaras stats are still decent.
        So if we can sell Leao for 175, I would be happy if we can get kvara for half of that price.

  10. For ac milan, my fave team,
    i am also like madrid and manchstr city,

    Bismillaah, i really want to say this, for milan presidnt, owner, mangement, player, supporters, everythng, milan is belong to every milan fans in the world, not just some people, who really love milan, sacrifice not only his money, his mind, anlyses, but time, passions, everythng for milan to be the greatest team in the world

    enough for playng around, i dont blame anyone and dont have time to useless thing, this is crucial transtion time, we must serious, to supporter also, keep suportive, spread positive vibes and always be optimist and positive, its good to critic the team, the player, etc, but also give your positive, practical, logic realistic solution for better milan, dont always whining and be negative, blaming etc

    I really want milan to win chmpion league, and for that we must believe, confident, and be serious, and do it now, today, not 100 years later

    Sell an unmotivatd player, then buy more than 2 great player, remember that 1 great player is better than 1000000 good player, good, not average

    Sell player that just playng around, only motivatd by money, only talk, no action, no prove, injury prone, bcause cant protect themselves

    Bring back maldini, buy intelligent coach, that can inspire confident, elegant, and be responsibles for the team, and most important, who want to make the team to be the best team,

    For this reason, why i like ancelotti, he is like father, responsible, give safety, and always push the team for never give up, thats how a coach must be,

    Now, forget yesterday, now we must focus to future, the bright future, buy a coach that is intellignts and really love ac milan, and behave like gentlmen, and i like zidane

    Not other candidat, example, like guardiola, bcause, remmber his incident with zlatan, he is not talk his problem, not a gentlmen, not mournho, too cocky, only talk, bad behavior, bad only dfensive strtegy, etc, see, this is easy to choose a quality coach

    So the list is filtered and result are;

    Maybe other italian,
    arrigo sachi,
    roberto mancini,
    fabio capello, or they all retired or what, bcause sometimes i read they talk and give some analysis, if you can coach, show your work, prove now in the field,

    Dont buy mediocre coach, unproven

    And for player, like i said, buy only the great player, confident and strong player, like;
    Jude bellingham

    Bring back Brahim diaz
    Buy Arda guler,

    Sofyan amrabat
    T kopmeiner

    R calafiori
    And keep mateo gabbia

    For gk, di giorno,
    Sell injury prone player

    If you want to be chmpion, you must have a champion mentality, and buy only chmpion great soccer player, this life is not gamble, we must confident and serious, and we will be the winner, insha allah

    Now, we must always be positive and optimistic, and keep better and work on, forza milan, come on!!

  11. I’d love him stay, but if he’s not up for the challenge in Serie A and Europe, and just wants to chase cash for his investors…adios.

  12. My post too long, i dont thnk thats long,
    bcause thats my first post, and i really have more to say, for sake of my milan, player, and supporters, evrything, to be the most entertainng and strong sport club, in all industry, not only sports

    And i dont mean to sell some player, but i want to demand prove from them if theyre serious, to be the goat, to be ac milan legend

    Bring back Maldini,
    Brahim diaz

    Buy only strong, quality coach and player;
    Zidane or Motta

    Arda guler
    Sofyan amrabat
    R calafiori

    And stay healthy, positive, and optimists,

    Show the world who is ac milan,
    forza milan!!

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