Manchester United legend Gary Neville and Arsenal great Ian Wright have heaped praise on Chelsea target Rafael Leao following Portugal’s 6-1 win over Switzerland at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Portugal progressed to the last-eight stage of the tournament after a commanding victory against Murat Yakin’s side at the Lusail Stadium on Tuesday (December 6). Goncalo Ramos scored a hat-trick, while Pepe, Raphael Guerreiro and Leao also bagged a goal apiece.
Leao, 23, netted his goal after replacing Bruno Fernandes in the 87th minute of the contest. So far, he has scored twice in 62 minutes of action, spread across four 2022 FIFA World Cup substitute appearances.
A beautiful finish from Rafael Leão for his second World Cup goal. Milan still really intent on getting him to sign a new deal. Talks ongoing and Stefano Pioli says he’s “waiting for good news”. But Chelsea aren’t going away.
Speaking on ITV, Neville lauded Leao for his ability to influence matches from the bench and also for his recent goal against the Swiss. He said:
“I really like him. I liked him when he came on in that first game [against Ghana], he gave them more balance in those wide areas. He’s been used as a substitute again tonight. His goal was a bit strange because you’d think there had been a deflection. But it was a brilliant effort into that far corner.”
Sharing his thoughts on the AC Milan star, Wright added:
“You know what it was as well? How dynamic he was. He blast past the defender and then the composure to calm himself down and whip it into that far corner – it’s a beautiful goal.”
Leao, who finished 14th in the 2022 Ballon d’Or rankings, has scored seven goals and laid out nine assists in 20 games for Milan this season.
Earlier this summer, Chelsea were in pole position to rope in Leao, but had a £70 million verbal bid rejected by Milan. Stefano Pioli’s side are currently working on offering the attacker a contract extension.
Rafael Leão on his contract expiring in June 2024: “I will speak to AC Milan about my contract situation once the World Cup is over”. #ACMilan
“We had a positive meeting with Paolo Maldini before the World Cup, it was a good one – we’ll enter into details after the break”.
Chelsea monitored Ecuador and Bayer Leverkusen star at 2022 FIFA World Cup
According to Mirror, Chelsea sent their first-team scouts to monitor Ecuador and Bayer Leverkusen defender Piero Hincapie at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are also in the race.
Leverkusen are prepared to entertain bids for Hincapie in January after failing to qualify for the UEFA Champions League knockout stages.
Hincapie, 20, has emerged as a breakthrough talent since joining Leverkusen from Argentine Primera Division side Talleres for around £7 million last summer. So far, he has scored three goals and laid out one assist in 51 matches across all competitions for the BayArena outfit.
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