Gabriel Barbosa 20 Striker Internazionale Brazil
Last year we were excited about Gabigol but worried about the pressure. We pointed out that the Neymar comparisons, while inevitable, were unfair and that he needed time to grow organically. We had high hopes but were worried about the sheer weight of being one of Brazil’s emerging talents at a time when the national side had never needed inspiration more.
His talent has never been in dispute and he spent the first half of the year doing what he does but very much in the comfort zone of someone waiting for the big move to come in the summer. It duly did, to Inter who have a pedigree for nurturing talent and making Brazilians comfortable in their care, and for a reported fee that shouldn’t have felt like a millstone either. Everything looked good then, C+ or even a B maybe? No, the wheels are off, but it doesn’t all appear to be his fault either.
2016 has been…
…a roller-coaster, but he finishes with hope.
Basically, and there is no other way to say this, the move to Inter has been an absolute disaster. Signed by the club rather than his new manager who on leaving Inter in November said he never wanted him, he’s made (to date) a single fleeting appearance and then struggled to make the match day squad let alone the bench. Coupled with that is a brewing storm over the transfer itself and Barcelona’s assertions that they had first refusal and were never consulted leading to a huge potential court case.
For FFP reasons he wasn’t included in the Europa League squad so no chance to impress there, and he then became a pawn of a power struggle as Frank de Boer was told to play him more and responded by leaving him out entirely for a fateful trip to Sampdoria which all but ended the manager’s 85 days in charge. Tough on a player leaving Brazil for Europe with every reason to be excited and we’re sure there’s a rebuilding job to be done with his confidence accordingly.
There are rumours of a loan in January to another Serie A side or even somewhere in Turkey, but hope comes in the form of De Boer’s removal. His new manager, Stefano Pioli, will look at his young striker in a different light and understand he needs football. If that has to be a loan than fair enough for the moment, but we just want to see Gabriel play again. As a club Inter appear committed to their potential next big striking talent, so unless there’s a drastic change we can’t see a permanent move, but he needs time on the pitch and if that has to come away from Milan for a while, so be it.
A year to forget but one from which he’ll learn some valuable lessons. His national side have found a way to put themselves back together again and he feels a long way from getting back into the side as it stands to improve on his 4 caps, particularly with Gabriel Jesus’ development. We still believe and most others do too, the talent is still there and we’re sure he’s going to come good, but the next 12 months are about getting back to basics and finding somewhere he can play.
D It feels a harsh mark as a lot has been out of his control, but it represents the huge talent currently not going anywhere
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