Léo Duarte: Fortified

There’s a new center back at Milan, and word on the street is that he means business. At the age of 23 years old, Léo Duarte was signed to reinforce a center back lineup that also includes Romagnoli, Musacchio, and Caldara. That gives Milan one of the youngest defenses in Serie A, but also one of the most talented. Duarte wasn’t signed just to sit and watch the others, he was signed because of his reputation for being both tough and talented, to give our defense a little something extra. I suppose you could say that Milan have fortified.

Fast, skilled, and tough... fortifying our young defense

Leonardo Campos Duarte da Silva was born in Brazil and began his football career with Desportivo Brasil. He joined Flamengo’s youth side in 2014, and was promoted to the first team in March of 2016, Since then, he made 49 appearances for the club.

In his first interview as a Milan player, Duarte recounted how he got a call this summer while he was at the mall from Paolo Maldini. He said that when he saw the name, he started shaking, but right away, he wanted to come to Milan. Duarte and his father had watched Milan play in the Champions League when he was growing up, and he remembers that Maldini was one of his father’s favorite players.

Red and black career

As if that wasn’t enough to make a young player star-struck, former Milan, Flamengo, and Brazilian left back, Serginho, was an intermediary on the deal between the two clubs. He spoke very highly of Duarte, saying, "He is aggressive, explosive, physical and technical. We Brazilians are more instinct, but he already has a sense of tactics and position. A period of adaptation is normal, but for him it will be easier. He is married and quiet, even outside the pitch, he respects the club’s philosophy.”

Some are comparing him to Thiago Silva, but those who have watched him play say that he is his own player. It is said that he is a bit more “nasty,” and that he is not afraid to jump into a challenge. Yet he maintains a good disciplinary record, with relatively few cards, so he is clearly both smart and skilled. He is reportedly very fast, too, and at 6’1” (1.83m), he is known to be a decent aerial threat as well.

"Hi, Dad! Remember this guy on my right?"

The legendary former Milan and Brazilian keeper, Dida, also spoke highly of Duarte and also of his value for the club. “In terms of value for money, this is a great deal for Milan. His strengths are speed and he has fairly obvious quality.” Milan has a special love for its Brazilian players, and Duarte marks the 36th Brazilian to sign for the club. The 35th, of course was Lucas Paquetá, his former teammate at Flamengo. Paquetá was in contact with Duarte ahead of the move, assuring him that he would help him settle into the club and into Milano as well.

Together again

It is difficult to see what could be wrong with this deal, because he is young, with a low transfer fee and yet a decent amount of experience in the top Brazilian league. He knows his Milan history, and has good moral character, too. He is known by and also recommended by multiple former Milan players, which is a bonus for a young player like him. But he’s not just another young defender, he brings extra speed and tenacity to our backline. Fortified.

This post inspired by the music of NIN

Our next match is a friendly
Cesena vs. AC Milan
Saturday, August 17 • 20:30 CEST (2:30pm EDT)

Léo Duarte: Fortified Léo Duarte: Fortified Reviewed by Elaine on 12:24 AM Rating: 5
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