Scouting – Gabriel Barbosa

Welcome to the third episode of Goalden Times’ scouting series, The Next Big Thing. This time, Sanmitro Chatterjee profiles Gabriel Barbosa, the young striking sensation from Santos, who seems ready to take over the world in a few years.

Gabriel Barbosa

Fresh from the academy of Santos, who has produced players like Pele, Robinho, Neymar and other big names in world football, Gabriel Barbosa has already caused much stir in Brazil and probably in Europe too.

Name: Gabriel Barbosa Almeida
Date of Birth: 30th August 1996 at Bernardo do Campo, Brazil 
Position: Striker
Height: 1.75 meters
Preferred Foot: Left
Club: Santos
Nickname: Gabigol

 Career so far :

Gabriel Barbosa’s career kick-started after a little incident in a Futsal tournament. The 8-year-old Gabriel was playing for Sao Paolo, and Santos legend Zito was the coach of the Santos side. Zito tracked the real potential of the little boy, who netted five goals against his side and thus invited him for a trial. The engine was ignited as he was taken into the Santos academy in 2004.

His progress through the youth section has been a rapid one and by the age of 14 he was being called up by Brazil as news of his talent spread. According to his agent Wagner Ribeiro, Gabriel has already scored 600 goals in various levels at Santos. An amazing feat indeed and inevitably does justice to his nickname, Gabigol.

Barbosa signed a three-year-deal with Santoson 25th September 2012 which includeda €50m buyout clause. On 26th May 2013, Gabiogl made his league debut at the tender age of 16 in a 0-0 draw against Flamengo at the Mane Garrincha Stadium. In August 2013, he scored his first professional goal for Santos,scoring a winner in a Copa do Brasil match against Gremio.The following season cemented Gabriel’s position as a member of the first team and he netted six goals in nine starts. So far he has made 42 appearances for Santos, scoring 9 goals.

His international career has been noteworthy till now, for an 18-year-old. On November 2011, Gabriel got a call up for Brazil U-15 squad. On 20th June 2013, he was included in the U-17 squad for a tournament in Miami. Gabriel was called up to the U-20 squad on 22nd July 2014 for the L’Alcúdia International Football Tournament. He was the tournament’s top scorer, though he missed the final game due to a dismissal in the game against Argentina. He has scored three goals from five appearances in U-17 level and four goals from 12 appearances in the U-20 level. This season, he has appeared 16 times in all competitions and scored three times.


Style of Play, Strengths and Weaknesses :

Branded as the “New Neymar”, named most probably because he is the next emerging talent to emerge from Santos academy just after the current FC Barcelona star. Although his playing style is quite different from that of Neymar.

Though he is often deployed on the wings, or operated as a wide forward to field other striker options, Gabriel is more of an outright striker with the ability to strike the ball with both feet, with an impeccable game reading capability and finishing abilities, and also quite skillful, if not in the level of Neymar. Also he occasionally drops down to help the team in midfield more often than not.He has a high attacking work rate and likes to run past defenders. Apart from being an adroit dribbler,his passing abilities are decent too as he finished 2014 season with 81.4% passing accuracy, quite a feat for a then 17-year-old.

With great shooting ability, good passing accuracy, better than average heading, good speed and a hawkish vision, Gabriel stands out as one of the best young talents in world market. Considering his present skills, he is good enough for an 18-year-old. Goalden Times scouting team predicts this kid to be an effective force in European club football in coming years. Beside the ball skills, the maturity shown by him at this young age has caught the attention of many critics. With rumours flooding regarding Barcelona and Manchester United are gearing up to pocket him, Barcelona already having been refused once, it is getting more and more evident that he will move to Europe, sooner or later. We hope someday, he will make it big in Europe, like his flamboyant predecessors.

A nice video by Scout nation will help you understand the player better. It is a compilation of his 2013-14 season for FC Santos.The first thing that catches your eye in the video apart from his unprecedented celebrations is his use of brains behind the choice of skill moves. As soon as you lower your eyebrows, he will raise it again via his display of shooting skills. That is not the end as he will mesmerize you with his amazing first touch, little juggling skills on field, and cheeky finishes. His wide crosses are dead accurate and can cause problem for any defence as he spots run from a player, into the box or through the wings, like a hawk. Another feature of his crosses are that he sends in them through the air with a little bit of swing with the attackers lined up, so that if one misses the other nets it. The video is a fair display of his flair and unselfishness. He renders his team a huge advantage with his ability to shoot from any angle. And all these are compilation of just one season. There is more to come from him. He is a youngster to keep an eye on. He is a star of tomorrow. Selecao fans all over the world can pin their hope in this exciting talent as he can prove out to be exactly that player, needed for resurrection of Brazil.