Desailly: ‘Leao became a star before he even became a star’

1998 World Cup winner Marcel Desailly praised Theo Hernandez, expressed reservations about Rafael Leao and was doubtful of Napoli’s Scudetto hopes. 

The 23-year-old Leao is one of the players to watch at the World Cup in Qatar, being an important figure for Portugal in their quest for glory on the world stage. With 18 months left on his contract with Milan, this World Cup could have important transfer market ramifications for Leao, who has looked strong this season under Stefano Pioli.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Desailly first gave his thoughts on Milan and France full back Theo Hernandez.

“Theo Hernandez can become the strongest in the world. He is a chameleon, he has the ability to change his function within the team.”

He also spoke highly about veteran striker Olivier Giroud.

“In line with Pioli’s style and Milan needed a player of his experience, capable of making the difference in the important moments.”

The former Rossoneri defender commented on if Mike Maignan is one of the top goalkeepers in the world.

“Not now because he is injured. For Milan he is super important and can still improve a lot.”

Desailly expressed his reservations over Leao amidst the various transfer market rumours.

“Calm down. It seems to me that Leao became a star before he even became a star. He has enormous potential but he doesn’t give me the idea of being ruthless. I ask Leao to forge his character.”

Finally, Desailly suggested that Napoli’s Scudetto bid would collapse as the season develops.

“I love Napoli’s energy but I doubt they can hold on psychologically until the end. They don’t have the squad to hold up.”

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