Leao, first European Championship with Portugal is a flop

The Portuguese, who started alongside Ronaldo, made his European debut against the Czech Republic, a 5.5 game with a few flashes.

Leao’s racing statement is in the first forty minutes. The Milan player, who made his European debut with Portugal, has a great desire to perform well. He extends his hand to the left, demands the ball, continuously targets the player, and evades marking. The first attempt hits, from the left hand, and the second also, and then slowly it is doubled and understood. Against the Czech Republic Rafa only lasted half an hour. In the 39th minute, he received a yellow card for simulation. A clumsy and unsuccessful attempt to get a foul off the edge. The referee did not deceive him: he was booked.


The rating says it all: 5.5. A kind of “I want to but I can’t”, or “I try but it doesn’t work out”. Halfway debut. Well, for the first thirty minutes, with two dribbles and several crosses in the middle of the area, then nothing more until the substitution. Martinez called him to the bench in the 63rd minute to introduce Diogo Jota, who was more active than him: he scored the makeshift 2-1 goal, which was later disallowed due to Ronaldo’s offside. Eventually, Francisco Conceicao took over, and Sergio’s son scored three minutes from time. And the third national team match.

Negative numbers

Leao has started nine of Portugal’s last ten matches. In three of the last four matches, with the exception of the Czech Republic, he has been substituted at half-time, only scoring against Sweden in mid-March. Martinez considers him more or less a starter and has always trusted him, but the performance against the Czech Republic was not enough. The numbers say so: in 63 minutes, he completed just one dribble, lost 11 balls and missed 5 passes. He arrived at the European Championship after an up-and-down year with Milan: 15 goals and 14 assists were on the top scorers’ list between the Championship and the Cups, but in Serie A he spent almost five months scoring. Martinez gave him the starting shirt alongside Ronaldo, but against Türkiye he can rest. Conceição and Jota support this. Martinez will have to decide.

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