If you’re looking for an example of how quickly time changes in the modern game, look no further than Gabriel Barbosa. 12 months ago, ‘Gabigol’ was cementing his reputation as one of the Selecao stars of the future, helping Brazil win gold at the Rio Olympics to spark wild celebration across the Samba state.
The Santos teenager starred in a thrilling front three alongside Neymar and Gabriel Jesus. However, while the former has hogged the headlines thanks to reports of an earth-shattering £196 million move to PSG (The Guardian), and the latter shone for Manchester City in the second half of last season, Gabigol’s 2016/17 was one to forget.
Gabriel Barbosa looked like a certain Samba superstar last year
A £25 million switch to Inter Milan was supposed to herald the first stepping stone on the 20-year-old’s journey to following in the footsteps of Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Neymar and co by lighting up the European game, as reported by Goal.
However, it’s fair to say his debut season at the San Siro wasn’t quite as magical as the one managed Ronaldo, a legend at Inter, in the late 90s. Gabigol played just 113 minutes in Serie A, scoring one goal, and dominated the back pages for all the wrong reasons after storming off down the tunnel against Lazio after once again being overlooked on the bench.
The phrase ‘annus horribilis’ was invented for Gabigol in 2017. However, this does not mean Everton fans should be wary as Bleacher Report links them with a loan move for the out-of-favour Brazilian.
Platform to perform
Now, a tally of one goal in nine substitute appearances hardly suggests that he could replace the goals of Romelu Lukaku. But it’s worth remembering that, not long ago, Gabigol was arguably the most exciting talent in South America with an Olympic gold around his neck.
He is a truly special talent and even Ronaldinho took a while to adapt to European football when moving to PSG. Given time, Gabigol will show what all the fuss is about.
Everton should ensure Goodison Park is the platform to launch what could be a spectacular career.