AC Milan winger Rafael Leao was the subject of praise from head coach Stefano Pioli following the club’s progression to the UEFA Champions last four at the expense of Napoli.

According to the gaffer, Leao is ‘becoming a champion’ this season for the Serie A side as they made the semi-final for the first time since 2007.

Milan advanced to the European competition semi-finals after winning 2-1 over two legs following a 1-1 draw at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Tuesday, April 18.

The Portugal international put on a man-of-the-match performance that evening and was a key contributor to the winning goal by bursting past the Napoli defence and crossing selflessly for Olivier Giroud, who scored into an empty net.

Napoli’s Victor Osimhen scored late in the game, but it was not enough to beat the seven-time Champions League winners.

Pioli had no words than to laud the performance of the 23-year-old, who ended up with the Man of the Match at the end of the game.

“We’re enjoying everything about Leao,” he told the media.

“Today we asked him to help out more defensively and he did it. Rafa is becoming a champion and that’s what he’ll become.

“It’s up to him, because for someone with that much talent and skill, both technically and physically, it’s just a matter of how much effort he puts in.”

Milan will face the winner of the game between Inter and Benfica with the former posing a 2-0 advantage from the first leg in Portugal.


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