The Rossoneri withstood tremendous pressure from Napoli to successfully navigate a Champions League quarter-final rematch on Champions League soil. The key figure for AC Milan was Portuguese superstar Rafael Leão, who took the ball in his own half of the pitch, made a stunning solo run across the pitch and crossed for Olivier Giroud to score. His qualities were praised by former player Bastian Schweinsteiger.
For the first time since the 2006/07 season – after such a long time – AC Milan will play the Champions League semi-finals again. One of the absolutely key members of the Rossoneri’s line-up in the chase to advance to the next stage was undoubtedly Rafael Leão.
He seems to have Napoli as his favourite opponent. Even in the recent Serie A match, when AC Partenopei were thrashed 4:0, the Portuguese star scored two goals and very often tormented the Naples defence.
In the first Champions League quarter-final match, when Stefano Pioli’s charges beat their opponents 1-0, Leão was there for the winning goal.
Ismaël Bennacer scored the only goal for the Red and Blacks in the 40th minute, when he successfully completed a run of action set up brilliantly by Brahim Díaz in the early stages after a pass from Leão.
And in the return match, he performed this stunning solo. Leão ran across the pitch and in the final phase, he served the ball to Olivier Giroud as if on a golden platter, who made no mistake.
The Portuguese star proved to everyone in both Champions League games against Napoli that he is not only a selfish goalscorer, but also a great team player.
In the current Serie A campaign, Leão has scored 10 goals and 7 assists in 28 games so far, and in the Champions League he has scored once, but has assisted on another five goals. His qualities were also highlighted by former German international or Bayern player Bastian Schweinsteiger on his Twitter account.
“Rafael Leão’s assist for Giroud was one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. If he demonstrates his qualities more often, he will be one of the three best players in the world,” Schweinsteiger wrote.
Sources: UEFA Champions League, Transfermarkt, Twitter – Bastian Schweinsteiger
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