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Rafael Alexandre Conceição Leão (Portuguese pronunciation: [ʁafaˈɛɫ ˈljɐ̃w̃]; born 10 June 1999) is a Portuguese footballer who plays for Italian club A.C. Milan as a forward.

Rafael Leão
Personal information
Full name Rafael Alexandre Conceição Leão
Date of birth (1999-06-10) 10 June 1999 (age 20)
Place of birth Almada, Portugal
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Playing position Forward
Club information
Current team
Milan
Number 17
Youth career
2006–2007 Amora
2007–2008 Foot 21
2008–2017 Sporting CP
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2017 Sporting B 12 (7)
2018 Sporting CP 3 (1)
2018–2019 Lille 24 (8)
2019– Milan 0 (0)
National team
2015 Portugal U16 10 (2)
2015–2016 Portugal U17 11 (4)
2016–2017 Portugal U19 17 (5)
2017–2019 Portugal U20 8 (2)
2017– Portugal U21 5 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 5 May 2019
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 31 May 2019

Contents

Club careerEdit

SportingEdit

Born in Almada, Setúbal District of Angolan descent, Leão joined Sporting CP's youth system at the age of 9 after a brief spell in Amora FC.[1][2] On 21 May 2017, still a junior, he made his senior debut with the reserves, coming on as a second-half substitute and scoring in a 1–1 away draw against S.C. Braga B.[3]

Courtesy of manager Jorge Jesus, Leão first appeared in the Primeira Liga with the first team on 11 February 2018, replacing Bryan Ruiz for the last 21 minutes of the 2–0 home win over C.D. Feirense.[4][5] On 2 March, having taken the place of injured Seydou Doumbia late into the first half, he equalised for the visitors a few minutes after taking the pitch but in a 1–2 away loss to FC Porto[6]– in the process, he became the club's youngest-ever scorer against that opposition.[7]

On 14 June 2018, Leão unilaterally terminated his contract at the Estádio José Alvalade,[8] citing an incident where players and staff had been attacked by fans during training.[9]

LilleEdit

On 8 August 2018, Leão joined French club Lille OSC on a free transfer, signing a five-year deal.[10] He scored his first Ligue 1 goal in only his second appearance, playing 67 minutes and helping the hosts beat Stade Malherbe Caen 1–0.[11]

MilanEdit

On 1 August 2019, Leão signed a five-year contract at A.C. Milan.[12]

International careerEdit

On 10 November 2017, aged only 18, Leão won his first cap for the Portugal under-21 side, playing 31 minutes in a 1–1 away draw against Romania for the 2019 UEFA European Championship qualifiers.[13][14]

Style of playEdit

Leão drew comparisons to French player Kylian Mbappé, being called the 'Portuguese Mbappe'.[9] Tiago Fernandes, who worked with him at the Sporting youth academy, told French newspaper L'Équipe that in his opinion the player was better than Cristiano Ronaldo at the same stage.[15]

Jorge Jesus, who later coached him in the first team, said that Leão reminded him of former club striker Rui Jordão.[16]

Career statisticsEdit

ClubEdit

As of 1 August 2019[17]
Club Season League Cup Continental Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Sporting B 2016–17 LigaPro 1 1 1 1
2017–18 11 6 11 6
Total 12 7 12 7
Sporting 2017–18 Primeira Liga 3 1 0 0 1[a] 0 4 1
Lille 2018–19 Ligue 1 24 8 2[b] 0 26 8
Milan 2019–20 Serie A 0 0 0 0 0 0
Career total 39 16 2 0 1 0 0 0 42 16
  1. ^ Appearance(s) in UEFA Europa League
  2. ^ Appearance(s) in Coupe de France

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Poderá Rafael Leão vir a ser a nova estrela do Sporting?" [Can Rafael Leão be Sporting's next star?]. Record (in Portuguese). 13 February 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  2. ^ "RAFAEL LEÃO »» Do futebol de rua nas Paivas à sua passagem pelo Amora" [RAFAEL LEÃO »» From street football at the Paivas to Amora spell]. Jornal de Desporto (in Portuguese). 6 March 2018. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  3. ^ "COMENTÁRIO: Sporting B empata com Braga B e impede terceiro lugar aos minhotos" [COMMENT: Sporting B draw with Braga B and prevent minhotos from finishing third]. Diário de Notícias (in Portuguese). 21 May 2017. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  4. ^ "Leões vencem Feirense com dois golos tardios" [Lions beat Feirense with two late goals]. Diário de Notícias (in Portuguese). 11 February 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  5. ^ "«Rafael Leão tremia por todo o lado»" [«Rafael Leão was shaking all over the place»]. A Bola (in Portuguese). 11 February 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  6. ^ "A lei de Brahimi" [Brahimi's law] (in Portuguese). TSF. 2 March 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  7. ^ "Sporting não venceu o clássico, mas Rafael Leão fez história" [Sporting did not win classic, but Rafael Leão made history] (in Portuguese). SAPO. 3 March 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  8. ^ "Rafael Leão rescinde contrato com o Sporting. É o nono" [Rafael Leão terminates contract with Sporting. Going nine] (in Portuguese). TSF. 14 June 2018. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Rafael Leao: The Lille forward dubbed the 'Portuguese Mbappe'". BBC Sport. 7 February 2019. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  10. ^ "Rafael Leão au LOSC" [Rafael Leão to LOSC] (Press release) (in French). Lille OSC. 8 August 2018. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  11. ^ Lafont, Romain (28 October 2018). "Leao rugit, Lille déroule" [Leao roars (pun on player's name, "Lion" in Portuguese), Lille unwind]. L'Équipe (in French). Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  12. ^ "Official statement: Rafael Leão". A.C. Milan. 1 August 2019. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  13. ^ "Portugal empata na Roménia e complica apuramento" [Portugal draw in Romania and make qualification harder]. Público (in Portuguese). 10 November 2017. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  14. ^ "Roménia S21 1–1 Portugal S21" [Romania U21 1–1 Portugal U21] (in Portuguese). SAPO. 10 November 2017. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  15. ^ "'Better than Cristiano Ronaldo' – Rafael Leao sensational form no surprise to former coach". Goal. 10 February 2019. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  16. ^ "Jorge Jesus compara Rafael Leão a Jordão e faz revelação: "Nos treinos dá cabo do Piccini e do Coates"" [Jorge Jesus compares Rafael Leão to Jordão and makes revelation: "He kills Piccini and Coates in training"] (in Portuguese). SAPO. 12 February 2018. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  17. ^ Rafael Leão at Soccerway

External linksEdit