Rafael Leao scored one goal and assisted another as Milan downed Bologna 2-0 on Saturday, with Stefano Pioli hailing his talented winger.
The Portugal international wrong-footed goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski in the first half to open the scoring – his eighth Serie A goal at home since the start of 2022.
No Serie A player has managed more strikes on their home ground in that period, and Leao turned creator after the interval as he teed up Olivier Giroud, who acrobatically volleyed home to double Milan’s lead.
Another dazzling performance from Leao, who played a large part in Milan’s Scudetto triumph last season, came just days after reports in Italy claimed Chelsea want to sign the 23-year-old.
Milan are reportedly attempting to tie the forward down to a contract renewal and Pioli will be desperate to keep his star attacker, who he feels is beginning to fulfil his talent.
“A player with such potential must continue to think he can improve,” Pioli told Sky Sport Italia.
“He has never made a mistake in his attitude, he has never missed a training session and wants to grow.
“He has body language that can fool people, but he’s really smart. He must never stop trying to improve.”
8 – Since the beginning of 2022, no player has scored more Serie A home goals than Rafael Leao (eight, level with Dusan Vlahovic) – the Portuguese has scored each of his league goals in the process at the Meazza. Comfort. #SerieA #MilanBologna pic.twitter.com/79XJUnahcl
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) August 27, 2022
Charles De Ketelaere was another to impress against the Rossoblu, with the midfielder creating the opener for Leao after regaining possession inside his own half before powering forward to find his team-mate.
The former Club Brugge man also laid on a game-high four chances, and Pioli is delighted to see the new arrival settling in already after his reported €36million move earlier in August.
“There is no doubt that Charles is a great talent,” the Milan head coach said. “It’s normal that he has to grow and get to know his team-mates, but they are processes that take some time.
“He is already showing important qualities and he will only grow.”
Milan remain undefeated after three Serie A games this term, extending a run that began last season to 19 unbeaten top-flight matches – the longest such streak in Europe’s top five leagues.
The Rossoneri will hope to carry on their fine run of form when they head to Sassuolo on Tuesday, before a derby clash with Inter next weekend.