Rafael Leao of AC Milan became the first Portuguese player to score a goal in a Milan derby as AC Milan humbled city rivals Inter Milan in a pulsating encounter.
Two top leagues in Europe – the Premier League and the Serie A fed the glee of football fans across the globe on Saturday, 2nd September 2022. It was the Merseyside and London Derby in England and the Milan Derby in Italy. While the Premier League Derby ended in a barren draw, it was fiery in Milan. It was a rain of goals; a five-goal thriller!
The boiling rivalry between the two can be laid bare by the staggering stats. They have met 232 times; Inter Milan has won 85 times while AC Milan has won 78; the clash on Saturday was no different as agelong rivalries were relived in dramatic goals and counter goals.
Brozovic opened the scoring for Inter Milan in the 21st minute; seven minutes later, Leao replied with an equalizer before the end of the first half.
Two quick goals by AC Milan by Giroud and Leao in the 54th and 60th minute secured a crucial three points for the defending champions. Inter Milan could get only a consolation goal by Edin Dzeko in the 67th minute, as the match ended in a 3-2 win for AC Milan.
It was Rafael Leao who emerged as the hero of the Milan Derby. The Portugal international shot himself to the limelight by bagging a brace and an assist to secure a win for AC Milan. He is the first Portugal international to score in the Milan Derby
Who Is Rafael Leao?
Rafael Alexandre da Conceição Leão is a 22-year-old Portugal international currently plying his trade with the Serie A giants AC Milan. Raphael is one of AC Milan first choice strikers, wearing jersey number 17.
Raphael Leao began his early football career in 2006, playing for the Amora youth team between 2006 and 2007. He joined the Foot21 youth team between 2007 and 2008 before spending the last nine years of his budding football career at Sporting CP.
After joining the Sporting CP youth team from 2008 to 2017, he was occasionally used in Sporting CP B between 2016 and 2016, and 2017. He made 12 appearances for the team, scoring 7 goals.
In 2017, Rafael made his first appearance for the Sporting CP main team. He played for one year for the club, making 3 appearances and scoring one goal. Raphael Leao joined Lille of France in 2018. He spent just a season with the club and made 28 appearances, scoring 8 goals. AC Milan is his current club.
Leao joined AC Milan on August 1, 2019, for €23m, signing a five-year contract with the club. Leao made his AC Milan debut on August 25 as a 75th-minute substitute against Udinese. AC Milan lost the match by a lone goal. Since joining the club three years ago, Leao has made 100 appearances across all competitions for AC Milan, scoring 26 goals.
National Team Stats
Rafael Leao had played for the Portugal national team across all levels. He made 10 appearances for the U-16 in 2015, scoring 2 goals. He has featured 11 times for the U-17, scoring 4 goals, 17 times for the U-19, scoring 5 goals, 8 times for the U-20, scoring 2 goals, and 15 times for the U-21, scoring 1 goal. He made his Portugal senior nations team debut in 2021, has been capped 9 times so far, and is yet to record a goal.
Honors And Awards
Leao won the Taca de La Liga with Sporting CP in the 2017/18 football season. He also won the Serie A with AC Milan last season (2021/22 football season) and was awarded the Serie A most valuable player that season. He was a part of thr Portugal U-17 team that won the UEFA European U-17 Championships in 2016.
Style Of Play
Rafael Leao has significantly improved his football career since joining AC Milan in 2019. He is known for his versatility and skillful plays on the pitch. He can play on both flanks. His height and slimmer body build add to his dynamism and speed. He is a great dribbler and has been perfect in one-on-one situations. Leao has always been referred to as the Portuguese Mbappe.
Watch: spotlights on Raphael Leao against Inter Milan