Leonardo endeared himself to Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti by leading the club to a dramatic UEFA Champions League last-16 victory at Bayern Munich. Inter won the tie on away goals to advance to the last eight, having trailed 1-0 from the first leg but winning 3-2 at the Allianz Arena last night.
Moratti told the club's official website www.inter.it: "I would give a ten (out of ten) to Leonardo. This was a very tough game from a psychological point of view and he was excellent."
Moratti was not surprised by his team's terrific comeback. Trailing 2-1 at the interval, Inter hit back with two second-half goals to remain alive in the competition. "This team has personality, character and is very united," Moratti said.
"Even when things go badly, this team is able to turn things around and that is also the merit of Leonardo. We controlled the game in the second half and once the team again felt sure of itself, we took the win home."
Leonardo, meanwhile, hailed his team's never-say-die attitude. "We needed to show courage in order to beat a team like Bayern that plays great attacking football," the Brazilian said. "We controlled the second half and while we could have lost our heads, instead we always stayed in the game."
Leonardo felt his side sent a strong message to future rivals. "This is an historic win," he said. "You can have good or bad times but what happened in Munich is a sign of what Inter can be."