Rafael Leão has been speaking about his move to AC Milan last summer, and his adaptation to Italian football as one of the club’s great hopes for the future.
Sporting academy graduate Leão moved to San Siro ahead of the current season from French outfit Lille for a fee in the region of €35m plus bonuses and Tiago Djaló, and the 20-year-old admits the switch was a huge moment in his young career.
“Honestly, I didn't believe it at first,” Leão told Italian magazine Calcio2000. “But then, when I spoke with Maldini, a Rossoneri and world football legend who won many titles, I was very happy. It was incredible to have received the call from Milan, it was another of those moments that I will never forget.”
Asked how life is with the 7-time European champions, Leão told the publication: “I’m doing well. I'm proud to be part of this team and to play in these colours. I am happy and grateful to Milan for having taken a chance on me.
"Which players have helped me? I’m close with many. I get on well with Bennacer, Paquetà, Kessiè and Calhanoglu who helped me and still help me. Then, of course, Ibra too. Since he arrived, he gives me valuable advice.”
Leão’s bond with Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been the focus of attention since the experienced Swede arrived during the January transfer window. With an age difference of 18 years, it was put to Leão that it could be intimidating to have his elder strike partner scolding him on the pitch at times.
“No, I don't see it this way,” Leão said. “I know perfectly well that he wants to help me grow and improve. I am sure that, listening to his advice, I will always do better. training with him every day is a great advantage.”
The Almada-born youngster later admitted that he hopes to make history with the club, adding: "It would be fantastic to win the championship and also try to win the Champions League."