Leão: “I am very happy for what I have been doing, I always try to learn from Ibrahimović and Cristiano Ronaldo”

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Rafael Leão during Milan-Inter at Stadio San Siro on November 7, 2021. (@acmilan.com)

Rafael Leão spoke at a Portugal press conference today, saying he’s there thanks to his club performances.

Leão has been instrumental for Milan so far this season with his dribbling, assists and goals, and he will hope to bring the same to the table in Portugal’s next two matches against Republic of Ireland and Serbia, as he’s been included in the squad of Fernando Santos.

The 22-year-old sat down to speak to the journalists during Portugal’s press conference today, and he said the following, as reported by Record.pt:

What does the Seleção Nacional need to do to avoid suffering like in the first game against Ireland?
“Ireland is a strong and competitive team but we will go with the will to win. We are Portugal and we respect the opponents, but it’s important to win the three points to stay in 1st place in the group.”

You have two international appearances and have already come close to scoring…
“I’ve put in good displays, it’s true, but I’m just one more to help and to learn from the other players who are here.”

Rafael Leão before Milan-Inter at Stadio San Siro on November 7, 2021. (@acmilan.com)

What is it like to share the locker room with Ibrahimović at Milan and Cristiano Ronaldo at the national team?
“They are two players who I admire a lot, and I always try to learn from them. But of course I am happiest to be able to share the pitch with Cristiano because he is a player I admire a lot.”

What have you been learning with the Seleção?
“The group is fantastic and has welcomed me well. I am one of the youngest and the other players have given me experience and confidence. It has been important for me to be able to make my contribution.”

You are one of the best dribblers in Europe, ahead of Mbappé, Do you believe you can evolve towards competing for a Ballon d’Or in the future?
“Yes, but I have to improve day by day alongside these experienced players. But right now I’m focused on the national team and that’s what is important.”

Rafael Leão during Milan-Inter at Stadio San Siro on November 7, 2021. (@acmilan.com)

Do you have the ambition to secure qualification now?
“The message the coach has been sending is that we have two finals and finals are about winning. We don’t play to draw, and we want to go through the group from first place.”

At Milan you play more on the left side but you’ve also played as a striker in the middle. Which position do you prefer?
“It doesn’t matter if I play on the left, right or as a striker. I’m here to help the team in any position.”

You have five goals and two assists this season. Is it the best phase of your career?
“Yes, I am very happy for what I have been doing. I’m here with the Seleção for the work I’ve been doing at the club and I’m grateful to be able to show my worth alongside quality players.”

What are the dangers of these upcoming games?
“We will face two very strong teams and there may be some anxiety about qualifying, but we will come in focused and with the thought that it’s a very important game. With our quality and with the desire we have to qualify – we will be strong.”

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