Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista has played down any alleged feud with Diego Costa, telling reporters for the Daily Mail that they are good friends despite their on-field antics.
The two players were involved in a scuffle while playing for Villarreal and Atletico Madrid respectively and the exchange carried on when Arsenal travelled to Chelsea earlier this season.
The Blues won 2-0 on that occasion, but it was not without controversy as the visitors ended the match with nine men after Gabriel was sent off just before half-time and Santi Cazorla followed late on.
Arsenal’s Brazilian defender was shown a red card for kicking compatriot Diego Costa, an action which was brought on by the striker’s rather successful wind-up tactics and boisterous style.
But Gabriel says characters change when they enter the field and told reporters how Costa is a good person and the two get along just fine off the pitch.
“We have turned that page," Gabriel insisted. "I was in the Brazil squad with Filipe Luis and those two are good friends. I sent him a voice message as a friend. We are good friends."
“It's something that happens on the pitch and it is passed. Diego is a good person.”
Gabriel had his three-game band rescinded by the FA, a decision which also sparked plenty of debate.
The 25-year-old, however, has not managed to nail down a regular starting berth in Arsenal’s back-four with manager Arsene Wenger keeping the faith in trusty duo Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker.
Gabriel is widely thought of as the latter’s long-term replacement, yet a few flaws in his game need ironing out first before Wenger is seemingly willing to give him an extended run in the first-team.
The former Villarreal man has made just six league starts this season, and only one since October.