AC Milan unveiled Lucas Paqueta to the press today, and while everyone was all smiles and happy about the young Brazil international midfielder joining the club from Flamengo, not everything was happy in the world of Milan.
Leonardo,Milan’s General Manager, was asked about the status of Gonzalo Higuain amid rumors linking the striker with a move to Chelsea during the January transfer window, with Higuain’s former Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri reportedly wanting a reunion with the Argentina striker in West London.
#ACMilan director Leonardo had harsh words for Gonzalo Higuain. "He is here right now. Seeing as he is here, he needs to get down and actually do something for this team. He has to take responsibility" https://t.co/atvBtOneHD #CFC #Juventus #Argentina pic.twitter.com/A3XFfxImm0— footballitalia (@footballitalia) January 8, 2019
Leonardo was quoted as saying:
He has to make a decision and take on his share of the responsibility. Not this continual yes, no, I’m not sure. He had a tough moment, he has to put it behind him and get to work.
There’s no point following rumours and gossip. He is here right now. Seeing as he is here, he needs to get down and actually do something for this team.
A goal can change things, but if he is to continue here, he needs to take on responsibility.
Leonardo calling Higuain out in the press like this was deliberate, make no mistake. Either Leonardo is hoping to motivate the player by calling him out on his lack of goal scoring in public, or Leonardo is hoping to turn public opinion against the striker as Higuain prepares to leave the club.
It’s usually a bad sign for clubs to start airing their dirty laundry in public, even if it’s an attempt to motivate the player. Calling someone out in public is usually a last-ditch attempt to try and get a player going, and while this could have been just an off-the-cuff statement by Leonardo, who has been frustrated with the lack of production and Milan’s scoreless streak before the winter break, he’s been in the business long enough to know exactly what he is doing.
At this point, the rumors of him wanting to leave seem to be pretty credible. Of course, things can change in football, and the owners might be suffering from buyer’s regret after agreeing to such a large transfer fee during last summer’s transfer window. Either way, this situation needs to be resolved very soon.