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Rafael Leao warned against Chelsea transfer as Ibrahimovic insists Milan star would 'have to start from scratch' if he leaves San Siro

16:08 GMT 13/12/2022
Rafael Leao Milan
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has warned Rafael Leao about the difficulties of potentially swapping Milan for Chelsea amid ongoing transfer speculation.
  • Ibrahimovic warns Leao about transfer
  • Portugal star linked with Chelsea
  • Fired Milan to Scudetto

WHAT HAPPENED? Ibrahimovic has been forced to watch from the sidelines as the Rossoneri get their Scudetto defence underway this season, while he continues to recover from ACL surgery. In that time, Leao has continued his ascent to stardom and speculation over a transfer to Premier League side Chelsea simply won't go away.

WHAT HE SAID: "I think so," said Ibrahimovic when asked Sky Italy if Milan is the right place for Leao to continue his development, adding: "Leao is very, very important to us. He's one of those who is making the difference. He was the best player in Serie A last year, he's doing well.

"If you make another choice, you have to start from scratch... When he arrived here he wasn't a player who made the difference. Then he grew up and now he has great confidence."

He went further: "The coach (Stefano Pioli) also gives him great freedom to do what he wants. These situations in another club it doesn't happen right away: it's up to you, you have to create these situations."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Chelsea were linked heavily with a move for Leao in the summer transfer window following a stellar season for Milan where he was key in firing them to the Serie A title. Although they couldn't get a deal done, negotiations over a new contract at Milan for Leao continue to rumble on, and Chelsea's interest doesn't appear to be going away.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT? Leao is now out of the World Cup following Portugal's quarter-final exit, and must brush aside speculation to focus on Milan's season once again. Ibrahimovic, meanwhile, continues to recover from his ACL injury and should return in 2023.