AC Milan forward Rafael Leao to pay Sporting €16.5m in damages

AC Milan forward Rafael Leao has been ordered to pay €16.5 million to former side Sporting Club for unilaterally terminating his contract in 2018.

The ruling was made by Portugal's Court of Arbitration for Sport -- Tribunal Arbitral do Desporto (TAS). The TAS has also ordered the Portuguese club to pay Leao €40,000 for "the practise of moral siege."

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Sporting had requested €45m in compensation while the Portuguese forward had demanded €100,000 in damages.

On May 15, 2018, the Sporting team, including players, staff and personnel, were attacked at their own academy by a group of 40 people claiming to be supporters.

A Portugal Under-21 star, Leao was among nine Sporting players that cancelled their contracts, citing just cause because of the attack.

Leao, now 20, joined Lille as a free agent in August 2018. He then joined AC Milan from Lille for an undisclosed fee, reportedly in the region of €35m, in Aug. 2019.

A statement on Thursday from Sporting's market regulator (CMVM) confirmed the ruling made by TAS stating Leao had to compensate Sporting for "unlawful termination of the sports employment contract."

The ruling can be appealed.

Sporting announced on Feb. 26 that it would launch an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after FIFA ruled against the Portuguese club receiving compensation for Leao and Ruben Ribeiro, another of the players that unilaterally terminated his contract in 2018.