AC Milan celebrates its Champions League match winner Rafael Leao – and former world champion Bastian Schweinsteiger was blown away in front of the television. His superb solo run across almost the entire pitch, including assisting Olivier Giroud against SSC Napoli, secured the Portuguese a place in the Milan history books.

And the 23-year-old hasn’t had enough with reaching the semi-finals of the premier class. “I want to keep dreaming, from the top,” said Leao late on Tuesday evening after the 1-1 draw in the second leg of the quarter-finals in Naples. “We want to win the Champions League and we’re close. We have to try to the end.”

The scene of the evening

In the European Serie A derby, Leao overshadowed his Neapolitan striker rival Victor Osimhen – although the latter scored to make it 1-1 in added time. The scene of the evening, however, was delivered by the Milan winger: during a counterattack, he sprinted with the ball at his foot from deep in his own half to the opponent’s penalty area, the “Gazzetta dello Sport” calculated 70 meters. He outperformed three opponents, and Giroud only had to insert the final template in front of the goal at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

“Leao entered the stage of the stadium, which is named after a gentleman who put the rivalry aside for a moment and must have applauded the Portuguese’s magic,” wrote the “Gazzetta” about the famous goal in the 43rd minute.

Schweinsteiger wrote on Twitter of “one of the best assists I’ve seen in a long time”. And the former Germany international predicted: “If Leao can show his qualities more often, he will become one of the top 3 players in the world.”

The comparison with one of the greats has been around since Tuesday evening: the 23-year-old’s solo reminded the Italians and especially Milan-Tifosi of an action by Ruud Gullit just in that Napoli stadium in 1988, which scored a goal by Marco van Basten was crowned and which helped Milan to the league title. That’s right, Leao said in the TV interview, the two attacks are similar. “I know I can make the difference,” he added.

Regained top form

Last year the Portuguese international was voted Serie A Player of the Year. He’s had a few downturns this season. But he seems to have found his top form just in time for the most important games in the European Cup – Milan have been working for months to extend the contract with his jewel. Goalscorer Giroud indicated during the goal celebration that he would clean his assistant’s shoes.

“He’s going to be a champion and he already is,” said Milan coach Stefano Pioli of his winger. “We all enjoy it.” The star’s next great moments are planned for the semi-finals, in which Milan are in for the first time in 16 years. Back then, in 2007, AC ended up winning the Champions League.