Inspired by Mbappe, Milan Talent Leao Shrugs Off Henry Comparisons

Young Milan forward Rafael Leao has established himself as an undisputed starter in Stefano Pioli’s ranks, having scored 11 goals and registered 6 assists in 30 appearances for the Rossoneri this term. His form has prompted comparisons to be made with legendary Frenchman Thierry Henry, but the Portuguese has decided not to put himself on cloud nine, just yet.

The 22-year-old spoke to the microphones of DAZN (via MilanNews) and elucidated on numerous subjects, including his contract extension talks, his early Milan days and how coach Pioli has influenced him to be a better player, among other topics.

“Despite the difficulties, Pioli made me play and placed me as a starter. It is thanks to him that I have grown. He gave me the right mentality because he is someone who pushed me to always believe in myself.

He said to me: ‘You have talent, but you lack a bit of a winning mentality. If you want to reach the level of Mbappé and Ronaldo, you have to make a difference in all games, otherwise you are a trivial player’ “.

Leao’s form of late has impressed many, with several fans going as far as to comparing him to Arsenal and France legend Thierry Henry

“He is a great player, I am still a young player who wants to reach those levels. I want to make my way and my path and make history here at Milan.

“Who am I inspired by? Mbappè,” he added.

He Portuguese is contracted with Milan until the summer of 2024 and a renewal deal is on the way to extend his stay at San Siro for a few more years.

Speaking of which, he said: “I’m fine here, Milan is my home. I’ve been here for three years. I want to make history here, I want my name, when I finish playing, to be in the Milan museum. I’m fine here, I’ve already started to talk about the renewal with my lawyers.”

He moved from Lille to Milan in a €30m move back in 2019, when he was only 19 years old. Since then, he has gradually developed his performances to the standards of Serie A.