Back in 2016, there were two wonderkids named Gabriel leaving Brazil to play in Europe. One was Gabriel Barbosa, also known as Gabigol, leaving Santos for Inter Milan. The other one was Gabriel Jesus, who joined Manchester City in a move from Palmeiras.
There was lots of comparisons between them at the time, and things looked a lot better for the one who moved to the Premier League, as he had a good adaptation in England and conquered a place in the national team.
Gabigol was a flop at Inter Milan, with one goal in ten matches, and also at Benfica, scoring once in five appearances. That’s why he returned to Brazil to play for Flamengo in 2019, and things have been great for him ever since.
In two years at the Rio de Janeiro side, the striker already conquered two league titles, one of them won last night, and a Copa Libertadores. So it’s apparently fair to make a comparison between the two once again.
UOL journalist Mauro Cezar Pereira was asked to talk about them on the Fim de Papo show. And despite making praise towards Gabriel Jesus, he claims the Manchester City player couldn’t be the star of a big team.
“Here in Brazil he’d stand out, like Gabigol stands out, like he stood out when Palmeiras were Brazilian champions. If he says tomorrow ‘Guardiola, I want to go back to Brazil, I miss Brazil’, and City send him back to Palmeiras, loan him, he’ll stand out here, I believe, as Gabigol stands out.”
“I think these discussions are horrible, very shallow, ‘who is better, who is worse’, there are so many issues involved that it ends up being a kind of silly discussion sometimes. One has a solid international career and the other has a very good career here in Brazil, one failed in Europe and the other manages to establish himself.
“One of the reasons is Gabriel Jesus seems to me to be a more conscientious, more humble guy, who arrived in England to gain his space, reserve of Agüero, and goes there doing his job, and Gabigol arrived in Italy thinking he was the king of the black cocada, and it was nothing like that, he’s just a Brazilian boy arriving in Italy to play in one of the biggest teams in Europe.”
“He [Gabriel Jesus] is a good player, he’s not a spectacular player, he’s unlikely to be one of the greatest strikers in international football, an absurd highlight, but he’s a good player, with moments of great player. There was a stage in City that he stayed far below, I think it cost him to reach a compatible rhythm, he even seemed at times like a player in another rotation, a player of a slightly lower level, but he went there very young too, it takes time, often the player needs a certain maturity.
“I think he is a good player, who works well in a system, I don’t think he’ll become a great protagonist of a team. In a great team I don’t see it, maybe in a medium team if one day he leaves City he may be the star.”