Tue 20 December 2022 | 9:13

Stefano Pioli urges Rafael Leao to stay at Milan

Milan manager Stefano Pioli believes staying with the Rossoneri is the best option for Rafael Leao.


is eight points behind leaders Napoli in the Serie A and will face Inter in the Supercoppa clash on January 18.

Stefano Pioli

's players have been training in Dubai in recent days.

“I am convinced about the quality of my players, we are a tough and competitive team to win every game, knowing that the level has risen,”

Pioli said in an interview with Gazzetta and Sky Sport.

“Our competitors are much stronger, especially Napoli who have proved to have incredible quality. Clearly, if they keep this pace, they’ll finish the season with more than 100 points, so at that point, we could only congratulate them.”

Pioli praised Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s mentality who is set to return to action in the second part of the season.  

“I think he has superior intelligence and he was able to adapt to a situation he had never experienced before,”

said Pioli.

“When Zlatan arrived [in January 2020], nobody thought Milan could win the title, he was smart enough to understand when to intervene, sometimes being tough and other times with sympathy, when it can to help his teammates.

“He is never satisfied and this is his strength, he always demands more from himself and by doing so, he wants the same from others. Hopefully, he will be back soon. He wakes up in the morning, knowing that he must give his all to obtain the best. When he is focused on something, he gives everything to reach his target.”

Milan’s manager said

Rafael Leao

must sign a new contract with the Rossoneri.

“We didn’t expect him to come here and greet us, which was nice. It proves that the lads are happy together.

“The lads come from different places in the world, they have different cultures, but have found a way to be well together. Rafa is happy and serene, and he has developed incredibly, but he has a lot to work on, he can have even more quality and intensity. Clearly, he must do it with us, because he already knows all situations, which can be helpful.”

The 21-year-old Charles De Ketelaere joined Milan last summer for €35 million but has been inconsistent this season.

“When you coach young players, the most important thing is the base. There were no doubts that Tonali or Leo had great potential to become top players. The most difficult thing is to foresee when something will click in their heads, allowing them to reach certain levels.

“Everyone is available in this group, trying to help new players settle in and understand how to do things.

“He is a quiet and serene guy, but of course, he feels the pressure. This is something that, perhaps, he was not accustomed to in his old club. Every young player needs mental growth before improving technically. I can only say that I see a very serene guy.”

Pioli did not rule out playing De Ketelaere in the striker position in the future.

“It can happen especially when facing teams playing with five defenders.”

Milan French players Theo Hernandez and Olivier Giroud will be back to training in the coming days after their defeat in the World Cup Final against Argentina.

“I supported Theo and Olivier, I know how important it could be to win the World Cup,”

said Pioli.

“Giroud had already won it, Theo played in a major international competition for the first time. I spoke to them the other night and they must be proud of their path. Giroud has proved to be the champion we all know, not only technically, but also n a human level. Theo has proved what Maldini and I have been telling him for a long time. He can become the best left-back in the world.”

Pioli also was asked whether Messi, who finally won the World Cup, is the best player of all time.

“There are three legends in the World of football: Pelé, Maradona and Messi, but they all belong to different eras,”

concluded Pioli.

source: SportMob

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