Blessed with a fleet of feet and superb balance, Leo also has accurate distribution and an eye for the goal
Like Ronaldo, Leao came through at Sporting Lisbon and has been compared to Mbappe. Because of this, he aspires to be a player like that one day.
Rising Portuguese star Rafael Leao is set to take up the mantle of Cristiano Ronaldo when Portugal takes on Qatar in a World Cup qualifier.
The star of AC Milan is Portugal international Cristiano Ronaldo. Who has developed from an inconsistent youngster to a proven match-winner?
Milan’s six goals and nine assists in all competitions helped put them back into the mix for the Scudetto in Italy and put them in the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time since 2007.
Leao is blessed with superb balance and an eye for goal. He also has excellent distribution under coach Pioli, who he’s now turned into one to watch every time he plays for Milan.
In contrast to Ronaldo’s current state of affairs, which is not looking great. The veteran has seen his career mirror the early days of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo was a raw, young player who came through at United in the late 90s. He still needed to turn into the goal machine who kept giving up until he played his best during key moments.
Pioli (2019) gave me the right mentality and always encouraged me to believe in myself,” Pioli told DAZN in March.
“He always told me I was talented,” said the player. “But I didn’t have the winning mentality that if I wanted to get to the same level as (Kylian) Mbappe or Ronaldo, I needed to make an impact in every match.”
Leao moved from Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon to French side Monaco in the summer. He is showing potential as a goal-scoring forward in Euro 2024.
A former Sporting youth coach recently said that Duarte Leao was the best player in the history of their academy. Even better than Ronaldo as a youth player.
Lionel Leao has a lot of potential. “I wanted to show everyone who I am,” he said earlier this year, “even if I’m not a true goalscorer like Mbappe or Ronaldo.”
“I want to help my teammates win trophies with them.”
“I study my two favorite fighters on YouTube who motivate me to reach their level.”
Leao was sidelined during his entire time with Sporting in Lille after fans invaded the club’s training ground. They ultimately could not understand his persistence. And he un-infeasibly terminated his contract to pursue new opportunities.
Leao is preparing to take on a new role that could see him level up from national football. As he approaches the semifinals of the AFCON, his decision will likely be taken more seriously due to all the legal battles which followed.
Milan is trying to negotiate a new contract with their star player Leao. To do this, the club has offered him €6-7 million per year.
Chelsea made an informal bid for Leao in the last close season, and Milan director Paolo Maldini said in September that “no one is unsellable” for a club. The Milan powerhouse has been losing money for the past few years and is willing to listen to offers for its stars.
Portuguese sports daily Record claims that Maldini met with Sporting director Frederico Varandas twice as part of discussions over Leao’s debt, which is currently around a fifth of his annual salary.
In what is being seen as a prelude to a summer sale for the Portuguese winger, Milan is rumored to be trying to cut a deal with Sporting Lisbon. Fans are showing up in droves at games due in part to Leao’s development into one of the world’s most exciting talents.