'Leao has a home at Milan' – Pato urges star forward to remain at San Siro

By Sports Desk February 05, 2023

Alexandre Pato has urged Milan forward Rafael Leao to stay put, claiming the Portugal international "has a home and everything he needs".

Leao played a key role as Milan ended their 11-year wait for the Scudetto last season, scoring 11 goals for Stefano Pioli's side in Serie A.

He has netted nine times this term for his club, while he also scored twice at the World Cup in Qatar.

The 23-year-old, whose existing contract expires in 2024, has been linked with a move away from San Siro, with the Real Madrid, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool rumoured to be potential destinations.

Reports in Italy have claimed discussions between Leao and Milan over a new deal had broken down, though these were dismissed by the club and the player's agent Ted Dimvula, who described it as "false and misleading information".

Pato, who spent six years at Milan between 2007 and 2013, has encouraged Leao not to be swayed by outside influences.

"He has to do what he feels with his heart, because sometimes you have too many people around you telling you what to do," the former Brazil striker told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"He must decide for what he thinks will make him happy. Leao, however, has a home at Milan, he has everything he needs."

Pato feels Leao "can make the difference" in Sunday's Derby della Madonnina against rivals Inter, where Milan will be aiming to end a six-match winless streak.

Part of the Scudetto-winning side of 2011, Pato believes this season's squad must improve their attitude, though he remains confident Pioli can inspire an upturn in fortunes.

"The premise is that in my dressing room, there were quite a few legends," he observed. "Between training sessions and matches, there was no difference; the attitude was the same.

"I was lucky enough to see [Paolo] Maldini train 110 per cent every day. He arrived earlier, did extra work. [Zlatan Ibrahimovic] the same, Cafu the same. Champions who didn't think about the clock, but only about working as hard as possible.

"So more than talking, all you had to do to understand the right path was to observe. As for the current situation, I can only say that if they're using the same attitude as last year, it's not good.

"Sometimes, the management that follows wins is more complicated than when you don't win. However, I'm sure that Pioli will turn the light back on."

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