‘Gabigol’ to ‘Gabigone’
Gabigol’s agent, Wagner Ribeiro, refused to rule out a summer move for his striker when speaking to Italian publication Tuttomercatoweb this week.
He said: “Could he leave in June? I don’t know. The future is in God’s hands, not mine.”
Gabigol has failed to show anything like the talent that his time in Brazil promised whilst playing in Italy.
He joined Santos’ academy at the age of eight and was soon given the nickname ‘Gabigol’ for his incredible finishing.
Only a month after his 16th birthday he was rewarded with his first professional contract, which included a £50 million buy-out clause. To put that into context, Neymar’s release clause was £45 million before his move to Barcelona.
After Robinho’s short and swift return to his boyhood club and Neymar’s departure, Barbosa became Santos’ first choice striker. He had the honour of scoring the club’s 12,000th goal in all competitions, as well as winning Brazil’s top flight, the Campeonato Paulista.
And following Brazil’s first Olympic triumph on home soil last year, Barbosa was the subject of interest from Europe’s elite clubs.
Moving to Inter Milan
But after choosing to move to Inter, Barbosa has struggled to nail down a regular place in the first-team squad. Both Frank de Boer and his replacement Stefano Pioli have been reluctant to start Barbosa. He has found himself behind Mauro Icardi, Eder and Rodrigo Palacio in the pecking order.
It was rumoured that Barcelona had the first-option to buy Barbosa. Santos’ chairman confirmed that Juventus, as well as Inter, had made an offer. He also said that Manchester United, Liverpool and Leicester City all wanted his star striker.
Barbosa will not come close to fulfilling his evident potential unless he moves away from the San Siro.
His reputation as a young prodigy is not ruined just yet, but before his 21st birthday, he already needs to rebuild his career.