My Great­est Goal

Meet the teenage striker who’s the bright­est young Brazil­ian tal­ent around right now

Australian Four Four Two - - CONTENTS -

You’re only 19 years old, but you’ve al­ready be­come one of Brazil’s big­gest stars. How has it hap­pened? Yes, things have hap­pened very quickly so far. I’ve been a pro­fes­sional foot­baller since I was 16 years old, imag­ine that... I didn’t have so many op­por­tu­ni­ties in the San­tos first team in my first year, but when the chance came I proved my­self with good per­for­mances. Af­ter my first goal for San­tos, peo­ple started pay­ing more at­ten­tion to my qual­i­ties. I feel con­fi­dent and happy to be es­tab­lished now.

Are you a fan of your ‘Gabigol’ nick­name?

Of course I like it! It’s not bad for a for­ward to have ‘gol’ in their name, is it? It comes from the youth teams, when I used to play fut­sal. There were sev­eral Gabriels in the squad and peo­ple needed to iden­tify all of us prop­erly. I was the one scor­ing goals, so I be­came Gabigol. I used it straight away on my so­cial net­works.

Who’s your big­gest idol in foot­ball?

I’m a big fan of Cris­tiano Ron­aldo. He never gives up, he’s al­ways try­ing to help his team and he scores a cou­ple of goals ev­ery now and then.

You’ve been called ‘the new Ney­mar’ by the English me­dia in Eng­land. Is that ac­cu­rate?

I ap­pre­ci­ate that – it’s a great com­pli­ment – but there are no com­par­isons be­tween us at all. He’s an es­tab­lished player in Europe – the best foot­baller in the world in my opin­ion. But I’m try­ing to write my own story. Hope­fully I can achieve some­thing near to what Ney­mar’s done. That’s my dream, I must say.

You’re in Brazil’s squad for the Olympics. Are you look­ing for­ward to play­ing along­side Ney­mar there?

Yes. I didn’t have the plea­sure of play­ing with Ney­mar in San­tos. Ac­tu­ally, I did for about 20 min­utes – my de­but for San­tos was his farewell.

What would win­ning an Olympic gold medal mean to you?

It’s a huge thing in Brazil, no doubt, be­cause it’s the only tro­phy that Brazil­ian foot­ball is still miss­ing from our cab­i­net. Peo­ple dream of win­ning the gold medal in foot­ball, es­pe­cially be­cause we are play­ing on home soil. I couldn’t be hap­pier, be­ing part of the Sele­cao, and it’s one of my per­sonal dreams to be­come Olympic cham­pion.

Is it true that you re­jected a big of­fer from China ear­lier this year?

I did re­ceive a good of­fer from Chi­nese foot­ball, but I de­cided it was not the time for it. There’s no doubt the best leagues are in Europe. The level in Europe is very high and I like to watch all of the Euro­pean leagues.

What do you think of the Premier League?

The Premier League has its own pace and power, which is beau­ti­ful to see. I love the league. In the past peo­ple said that the English teams didn’t play at­trac­tive foot­ball, but it’s not true these days. I’m sure I would adapt to the Premier League with­out a prob­lem.

What do you think of the new Brazil­ian na­tional team man­ager, Tite? You made your first tour­na­ment ap­pear­ance re­cently at the Copa Amer­ica – are you con­fi­dent of be­ing part of the squad for the 2018 World Cup, too?

Tite has done a bril­liant job at club level and de­serves this op­por­tu­nity. I’m work­ing hard to be part of his squad. Brazil might not be in our best mo­ment – we all know that – but I’m look­ing for­ward to be­ing part of this new stage of the Sele­cao. It’s one of my dreams to help Brazil to qual­ify for the World Cup in 2018 and then have the chance to go to Rus­sia and play for my coun­try in the big­gest event on Earth.

"BRAZIL MIGHT NOT BE IN OUR BEST MO­MENT, WE ALL KNOW THAT, BUT I’M LOOK­ING FOR­WARD TO THIS NEW STAGE OF THE SELE­CAO"

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