Rafael Leão voted Serie A Player of the Season after inspiring Milan to glory.

AC Milan clinched their first Scudetto since 2011 on Sunday afternoon, and it came as little surprise that Portuguese forward Rafael Leão was yet again the driving force behind the victory which claimed the Italian title.

The Rossoneri needed just a point from their trip to Sassuolo, but with Leão in devastating form Milan were 3-0 up at the break. Leão was the creator of all three first-half goals and after his side confirmed themselves as champions, the Seleção man was named the Serie A Player of the Season.

The title race between city rivals Milan and Inter has been a close-fought battle for weeks, but Milan came into the final day with a two-point lead and a superior head-to-head record over their neighbours. With just a point needed to secure glory, Leão created the opener on 17 minutes when he won possession and sped past Kaan Ayhan to set up a simple finish for Olivier Giroud.

The same combination made it 2-0 with just over half an hour gone, with Leão again stealing the ball in the attacking third and beating his man to supply Giroud. The game was over ten minutes from half time when Leão broke down the right and centred for Frank Kessie to finish superbly, with Milan able to enjoy a relaxing second half with a three-goal lead as they cruised to a first league title in eleven years.

Even by Leao’s standard, his performance on Sunday was outstanding, but it came as little surprise given his contribution in recent weeks. The former Sporting man has been the main driving force behind his side keeping their heads under intense pressure from Inter, and he ends the campaign with five goals and three assists from his last seven outings, plus a career-best 11 league goals.

By far the most spectacular season of Leao’s young career and his breakout year was confirmed when he was issued the Serie A Player of the Season after the Sassuolo victory. Milan hope to tie Leão to a new contract this summer in the face of growing interest from abroad, as the likes of Paris Saint-German continue to be linked with a bid for the Portuguese.

Should Leão stay at San Siro, he will reportedly be joined by compatriot Renato Sanches, who is tipped to arrive from Lille as a replacement for the outgoing Kessie. The thought of Leão and Sanches combining for the Rossoneri in the Champions League next season is certainly an exciting one, especially for those with a Portuguese interest.

Source: Serie A