|Rafael Leão Quick Info
|6 ft 2 in
|Date of Birth
|June 10, 1999
Rafael Leão is a Portuguese professional soccer player who has represented, as a forward, Sporting CP B (2017) and Sporting CP (2017-2018) in Portugal; Lille OSC (2018–2019) in France; and A.C. Milan (2019-Present) in Italy. Sporting CP B is the reserve team of Sporting CP and competes in the 3rd tier of the Portuguese soccer league system. With Sporting CP, he won the Taça da Liga (an annual domestic soccer competition that is limited to teams competing in the top 2 tiers of the Portuguese soccer league system) in the 2017-18 season. It was the club’s first such title. With A.C. Milan, Rafael won the Serie A (the top tier of the Italian soccer league system) title in the 2021-22 season. This was the club’s 19th such title and made it the then 3rd-most successful team in the competition. It also ended the club’s 11-year league title drought. At the international level, Rafael represented Portugal at the under-16, under-17, under-19, under-20, and under-21 tiers before making his senior national debut in October 2021. Rafael was a part of the Portuguese squad that won the 2016 edition of the UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) European Under-17 Championship. This was the country’s 6th such title which made it the then 2nd-most successful team in the competition.
Rafael Alexandre da Conceição Leão
Rafblinks, Portuguese Mbappe
He splits his time between Portugal, and Milan, Lombardy, Italy.
Professional Soccer Player
- Father – António Leão
- Siblings – He has 6 siblings.
- 15 – Portugal
- 93 – Sporting CP B, Sporting CP
- 14, 7 – Lille OSC
- 17 – A.C. Milan
6 ft 2 in or 188 cm
81 kg or 178.5 lbs
Race / Ethnicity
He is of Angolan descent.
- Toned physique
- Side-cropped, dreadlocked hair
- Cheerful smile
- Wears ear studs
- Often sports a thin mustache
- Has both his hands covered in elaborate tattoos
Rafael Leão Facts
- Rafael started his youth career in 2006 when, as a 7-year-old, he joined a local club called Amora F.C. The following year, he moved to the youth team of a club called Foot 21.
- In 2008, he was recruited by the youth system of Sporting CP, a professional soccer club based in Lisbon that is part of the ‘Big Three’ soccer clubs in Portugal – the others being S.L. Benfica and FC Porto. He stayed in the system until 2017. His senior career started that year when he began turning out for both Sporting CP B and Sporting CP.
- In 2017, Rafael was a member of the Portuguese squad that finished as the runner-up in the UEFA European Under-19 Championship. He had contributed a goal in the group stage of the tournament. He was also a part of the Portuguese squad that finished as the runner-up in the 2021 edition of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship.
- In May 2018, he and several of his teammates and coaches were injured in an attack carried out by around 50 supporters of Sporting CP at the club’s training ground. This was after the team finished in the 3rd position in the Primeira Liga (the top tier of the Portuguese soccer league system) and consequently missed out on qualification for the UEFA Champions League (the most prestigious club competition in European soccer). A month later, Rafael unilaterally terminated his contract with the club.
- At the 2019 edition of the FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) Under-20 World Cup, he played all 3 group-stage games for Portugal and scored the only goal in a 1-1 draw against South Africa. Portugal, though, did not advance to the next phase of the tournament.
- In December 2020, he scored the then-fastest goal (6.76 seconds) in the history of Serie A. It was also the then record for Europe’s ‘Big Five’ leagues (Premier League in England, Bundesliga in Germany, La Liga in Spain, Serie A in Italy, and Ligue 1 in France).
- In January 2021, Rafael became the 2nd youngest (21 years and 207 days) foreign player to score more than 10 goals for A.C. Milan in Serie A. In May 2022, Rafael became the youngest Portuguese player to have scored at least 10 goals in a single season of Serie A.
- For his performances in the 2021-22 season of Serie A, where his 11 goals and 10 assists played a big part in A.C. Milan ending its 11-year league title drought, he was named the ‘Serie A Most Valuable Player’ and was also included in the ‘Serie A Team of the Year’.
- At the 2022 edition of the FIFA World Cup, Rafael scored Portugal’s 3rd goal in a 3-2 win against Ghana in the teams’ opening match of the group stage. This was the 1st goal of his senior-level international career for Portugal.
- In Portugal’s pre-quarter-final match, against Switzerland, he scored the last goal in a massive 6-1 win which ensured that the country had reached the quarter-final stage of the FIFA World Cup for the first time since 2006.
Featured Image by Rafael Leão / Instagram