Gabriel ‘Gabigol’ Barbosa insists he did not “fail” at Inter and has no intention of walking out early on Benfica. “European football is very different.”
The striker was snapped up at the age of 20 from Santos for €29.5m, but didn’t get a single Serie A start and was loaned to Benfica, where he is also now struggling for playing time.
The complaints at both clubs appear to be the same – he doesn’t work hard enough in training and is tactically deficient.
“I don’t think I failed at Inter. It’s very difficult for a Brazilian player who comes to Europe to score 20 or 30 goals in his first year,” Gabigol told Portuguese newspaper A Bola.
“I arrived at Inter very young, I was only 20… It was God who wanted it that way. I have always been Gabigol: at Inter, Santos, Benfica and Brazil. It’s just an issue of work. I have to work and wait for my opportunity.
“European football is very different and it varies from country to country. Italy is very different to Brazil and to Portugal. I need to get used to it.
“I’m now in Portugal, where the football is quicker and more dynamic. I have to be patient and wait for my chance. I give everything for my team and the important thing is that the team wins, not for me to score. The goal will arrive naturally, I do not seek it out obsessively.
“At Benfica I am playing as a centre-forward and a winger, as I can do both roles. I’ve had a lot of responsibility on my shoulders since I was eight years old, so it’s normal for me. I want to be a good player and a good son to my parents.”
There have been reports Benfica wanted to send Gabigol back to Inter in January, just six months into a year-long loan deal.
“I am happy here at Benfica. I hope to remain the whole season and it’s not true that I want to leave. Of course, at the end of the season I’d like to speak to Inter so I can decide on my future, but it doesn’t only depend on me.
“For now, I hope to be of use to Benfica.”
So far in a Benfica jersey, Gabigol has made three appearances in all competition for a combined total of 89 minutes.