New Milan signing Rafael Leao reveals his admiration for Kaka, playing with Krzysztof Piatek and the story behind his goal celebration.
The Portuguese forward arrived this week for a reported €35m from Lille, signing a five-year contract.
“I used to always choose AC Milan on the PlayStation because it was a really strong team, the club has won the Champions League many times,” he told the official club website.
“Many great players were here in the past, and though I never got to watch them live, I’ve seen lots of videos of Maldini, Rui Costa, Kaka, Seedorf. They’re all greats who have written the history of football. It’s great to be here too.
“Kaka was out of his world. Brazilian players are always especially talented, and Kaka left an indelible mark on this club’s history.
“He won the Ballon d’Or when he was a Milan player, and I can’t believe that now I’ve signed for the club he played for.”
Leao will be the strike partner to Krzysztof Piatek, as the Rossoneri move to a 4-3-1-2 formation under new Coach Marco Giampaolo.
“Playing with two forwards rather than one does give you a better chance of scoring goals, as one can stay in the centre, while the other has more freedom to roam.
“I’ve come to help, regardless of what position the Coach plays me in. I want to help Milan achieve their objectives.
“Piatek is an excellent striker who already proved himself at Genoa and continued scoring at Milan, so I hope to provide him with plenty of assists. The more goals he scores, the better the team will do.
“I’m fast and I like to take players on, I like to provide assists, but can also score goals. The important thing is to play for the team and always do my best to help my teammates. I’ve come here to do my best and if I’ve made it this far, it’s because of the work I’ve done.
“I have to prove myself on the field. I feel like I’ve joined a great club and my teammates will help me to improve.”
Leao was asked about his particular goal-scoring celebration, miming a telephone call.
“I started celebrating like that at Sporting. It was how I celebrated in honour of my Dad when he was unable to come to the matches. It was basically like calling him up to say: ‘Dad, I’ve scored another goal for you.’”