Leão: “We are strong and the new signings have raised the bar, I was proud to put the Captain’s armband on”

Rafael Leão during Barcelona-Milan at Allegiant Stadium on August 1, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (@acmilan.com)

Rafael Leão enjoyed being a Milan captain for a few minutes as the Diavolo lost to Barcelona.

Milan finished their United States tour with a 1-0 defeat against Barcelona, but it was Rafa Leão’s best performance in pre-season so far, as he dribbled as he likes and created dangerous plays.

Rafa completed 90 minutes and in the end, after Theo Hernandez was subbed off, he was also acting as the on-field captain.

“We faced a great team, one that knows how to keep possession,” Leão told MilanTV. “It’s challenging to take the ball from them, but we stayed solid until the end. Unfortunately, we conceded a goal even though Maignan is a great goalkeeper, it wasn’t easy to avoid. They have players with the quality to score like that. Overall, I think the team did well, we created our chances but didn’t score. Still, this was a good test for us against a great team. We’re preparing well for the coming season.”

On the squad: “We are strong; the new signings have raised the bar for the team. The Club did well to enter this tournament, playing against teams of this caliber is important for us, and it helps build our fitness. The team is taking shape.”

Rafael Leão during Barcelona-Milan at Allegiant Stadium on August 1, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (@acmilan.com)

On wearing the captain’s armband: “As Theo was doing off, I immediately told him: ‘Give me the captain’s armband; I need to wear it!’ I’ve wanted to wear it in important games many times, I’ve been here 4 years now and I was proud to put it on today. I’m delighted.”

On not having much of the ball: “These games happen, when we don’t see much possession, so when I get the ball I need to make important plays to score or make an assist. In other games, I have to be in the game at all times when we have more of the possession. There are games when our opponents defend deeper, giving us more time on the ball. This time we faced Barcelona, it takes work to press them all the time. I spent a lot of time without touching the ball but it’s important that when I get the ball, I make an important play to help the team. The coach has talked to me about being more consistent but like I said, sometimes we’re more in possession and in control. In others like this one, I have to wait for the right moment to press, to get the ball, counterattack and hurt our opponents.”

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