Rafael Leão was happy with his goal, which he had been trying to score for 3 years, but above all with the 3 points.
Milan remain perfect at the start of the 2023/24 Serie A campaign as last night they beat Roma at Stadio Olimpico.
For 60 minutes it was a dominant display, Milan scored through Olivier Giroud (9′ pk) and through a wonderful goal from Leão who once again showed why he’s the best player in the league.
Fikayo Tomori got a second yellow after an hour of play and Roma became more dangerous, especially with Romelu Lukaku coming off the bench, but Milan held on well, and despite conceding in the 93′ minute (Leonardo Spinazzola), managed to get the 3 points in a difficult stadium.
“It is a goal I’ve been trying to score for three years and I finally got it,” Rafa told Sky after the match. “However, the best thing was to get the win here, because it is always tough against Roma and these are three important points to stay top of the table.”
On the number 10 shirt: “I knew that this was a special number at Milan and I feel more responsible with this jersey on my back. I took the 10 without pressure and I want to prove on the field what I can do.”
On what he has improved: “I feel more responsible with and without the ball. I know that I can make the difference with the ball, but I also have to defend and improve in that area. I want to thank my coach, as he is always helping me to see what I can improve.”
On the squad after the summer mercato: “Milan have always been strong. Every year the club tries to sign the best players and the club made a big effort this summer, as the new arrivals have quality and raise the bar.”
On Pulisic: “I always try to help out my teammates. I know Pulisic has quality, so I tell him to have faith, target players and I try to lay it off for him. I know he will gain confidence and the whole team will be stronger then.”
Speaking to DAZN, Leão was asked how he experienced Roma’s last cross of the game and if he kind of relived the thrill of what had happened in January. He said: “It was an important game. We did everything to win, we controlled the game, and we moved the ball around well and scored deservedly. When we were down to 10 men, the team played an incredible game and we have to thank those who stayed on the pitch because they did a top job.”
On the goal: “I had been trying it for 3 years, I succeeded today. I’m very happy, the win however is the most important thing to keep the level high and stay first in the standings and go to the break calmly.”
On his place in the locker room: “I’m here to help the team inside and out. There are also the others on the bench who were inside the game, it was a time of suffering and off the pitch we had to help everyone to win. I’m very happy with the whole team because we did a great job. I’ll think about the Derby after the break.”
The Portuguese also had an interview with MilanTV: “I expected the ball to arrive a bit higher because I was already at the far post. Then, the ball ended up at my feet, so lower down. I was already facing the goal, so it was an instinctive movement.”
On running to celebrate with the fans: “It’s always great to celebrate with our fans because they are our strength. They give us more strength. Whenever I score, I try to celebrate with them.”
On the defensive phase: “The coach always tries to help me in this regard. It allows me to remain more involved in the game, always active. I can give chase and sometimes win the ball back and counter. I can help the team when we’re out of possession, and if we’re more compact, our opponents will find it more difficult to score.”
On pressing high: “The coach wants us to press for almost the entire match and always be in the game. The attackers are the first line of defense. We want to do well in this regard and get hold of the ball high up the pitch so we can score. The aim is to be aggressive, and for us strikers, I think it’s better to play this way rather than to sit back and wait before attacking. For us strikers, it’s better to do our defending close to the opposition goal because we can get hold of the ball and score.”