Zlatan Ibrahimovic has urged his AC Milan teammate Rafael Leao to resist the temptation to join Chelsea in the January transfer window.
Leao’s future is the subject of intense speculation at present with his AC Milan contract expiring in just 18 months.
Ibrahimovic said: “Of course, Milan is the right environment for him. Just look at his growth, when he arrived, he was far from the decisive player he is today. Here he is very important for us, elsewhere would he be as important? He would have to start from scratch, you can’t be sure he would be ready right away.
“At Milan he has confidence, space and freedom, which is not a given at another club, it’s up to you. Besides, you can see that he is happy here, by now he is laughing even before scoring. He is the young man who has grown the most.
“Theo has improved so much, De Ketelaere is strong, and patience is needed. But Leao is on another level, above average. He lacks a step, he will only do it when he is fully convinced of his abilities.
“Today even he doesn’t really know how strong he is. Then he will be really scary. And the price will go up.”
Leao, who earns £28,000-a-week at AC Milan, has stalled on extending his contract with the Italian side.