VIDEO: Gary Neville and Ian Wright praise Chelsea transfer target after the Portugish scored an hat-trick

Gary Neville and Ian Wright have praised Chelsea transfer target Rafael Leao following Portugal’s 6-1 win over Switzerland in the World Cup last 16.

Leao scored Portugal’s sixth goal on Tuesday night moments after coming on as a late substitute, cutting in off the left flank and curling a stunning effort over Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer, which had pundits purring after the full-time whistle.

The 23-year-old winger has been linked with a move to Chelsea in the January transfer widow after helping AC Milan win the Serie A title last season.

Leao was crowned both Serie A Most Valuable Player and Serie A Footballer of the Year for the 2021-22 campaign while this term he has registered seven goals and nine assists across 20 games for the Italian champions in all competitions.

‘I really like him,’ Neville told ITV after Portugal’s victory over the Swiss as Fernando Santos’ side set up a quarter-final against Morocco on Saturday.

‘I liked him when he came on in that first game [against Ghana], he gave them more balance in those wide areas. He’s been used as a sub [again] tonight.

[His goal was] a bit strange because you’d thought there had been a deflection. But it was a brilliant effort into that far corner.’

Wright added: ‘You know what it was as well? How dynamic he was.

‘He blast past the defender and then the composure to calm himself down and whip it into that far corner – it’s a beautiful goal.’

Former AC Milan defensive midfielder Nigel de Jong also shared his thoughts on Leao and feels he offers something unique to Portugal’s attack.

‘He’s so different to the other players they have [in that area],’ De Jong said. ‘I’ve been watching him at AC Milan, he’s been fantastic and they became champions, mainly because he is their star player.

‘With Portugal, it takes time to get into the starting XI, but when he comes on, he makes an instant impact.

‘Because of the size of him, he looks more like a wide receiver from American football than an actual winger!’

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