The huge financial dispute delaying Rafael Leao’s contract renewal at AC Milan

Rafael Leao is one of world football’s top young players, having hit top form with AC Milan this season. However, a huge financial dispute means his contract has not yet been renewed.

Sometimes referred to as the ‘Portuguese Kylian Mbappe‘, the 22-year-old is considered one of the game’s brightest prospects. His blistering speed, combined with his natural flair on the ball, has captured attention from football enthusiasts from around the globe.

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He has had an excellent start to this campaign. The forward has impressed the Milan faithful by scoring 10 goals in 26 games. In 2022 alone, he has hit five goals and provided two assists in just eight appearances in all competitions.

That is why the Italian giants are keen to commit him to a new deal. However, a dispute involving one of his former sides is causing a problematic delay to proceedings.

Read: The emotional night David Beckham returned to Manchester United with AC Milan

Rafael Leao’s Sporting Lisbon problem

The 6ft 2in powerhouse initially rose to prominence at Sporting Lisbon. His silky skills resembled a young Cristiano Ronaldo, so it’s no surprise that he caught the eyes of Ligue 1 side Lille.

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Leao chose to end his time at Sporting after a terrifying event occurred during a training session. Around 50 hooded thugs invaded the club’s facilities after their side failed to qualify for the Champions League. They attacked both players and staff.

Leao was amongst a large number of Sporting players who decided to quit the club. On 14 June 2018, he unilaterally terminated his contract and moved to Lille on a free transfer.

His former club disputed the French side’s signing of the player. They filed a complaint with FIFA asking for his €45 million release clause. And years later, they still haven’t given up trying to get compensation for his departure.

A heated legal battle resulted in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ordering the player to provide the club with a whopping €16.5 million. The Portuguese sensation appealed the decision. However, it was announced last month that his appeal, which went through the Lisbon Court of Appeal, had failed.

Now, as per Gazzetta dello Sport, the forward and his lawyers have resorted to CAS. They are awaiting another verdict, which is expected in the coming weeks. His lawyers hope that they will relieve him of the heavy fine.

Leao is seemingly keen to resign with Milan, but it appears he is awaiting any verdict before entering negotiations. His valuation of €28 million two years ago has soared after his terrific performances. Although every team wants the best possible outcome, finding it won’t be easy.

Featured Image Credit: Getty