Flamengo vice-president Marco Braz and Brazilian striker Gabriel ‘Gabigol’ Barbosa spoke to gathered reporters at his unveiling today. The player signed a permanent deal with the club that will tie him there until 2024. Their words were noted by Italian media outlet FcInterNews.
Braz spoke first about the transfer and his joy at acquiring the 23-year-old forward’s signature.
“The effort has been exceptional. President Rodolfo Landim always supports my signings. We were very well informed, very calm for a contract like Gabriel’s, also because of the results and his participation last year. I thank all those who participated in this negotiation. And congratulations, Gabriel, may you be happy for the next five years.”
Gabigol then touched on what it means to wear the Flamengo shirt and his happiness at the deal.
“I missed wearing this T-shirt. It’s a moment of happiness, everyone knows that Flamengo is my home. I’m very happy to play in this shirt, I know I followed my heart. It took some time, but as the Mister says: ‘the important thing is not the beginning, but the end’. The Libertadores? We were losing. During the game everyone knew I was going to be provoked and I didn’t want to lose concentration. I think it was a special day, and I was enlightened by God.”
The 23-year-old Brazilian striker also discussed his season last year with Flamengo and his desire to remain with the club, instead of returning to Inter.
“Trying to win everything again is our goal, we felt the taste of being champions. It was a very happy year, but we want to be champions again. We work every day for this, I think Flamengo and all the fans deserve it. I wanted to stay at Flamengo. Obviously, things didn’t happen so quickly, but I had a club, which was Inter, I always respected them. Internally, everyone knew that my desire from the beginning was to stay. I’m really happy. I feel very good. I feel at home. I’m very happy with my teammates, with the city. I feel very warm, the fans have a great influence on that. A player must feel happy, feel at home.”
Gabigol touched on how he feels fulfilled with the Brazilian club and wants to remain for a long time.
“For a player to feel fulfilled, you don’t need to play in Europe and leave your country. We have a good league, Flamengo is on a very high level and has a coach who is one of the best in the world. I have a five-year contract with Flamengo, and I intend to respect it and stay here much longer.”
Gabigol discussed the welcome he received from his teammates.
“Everywhere I went they were always talking to me. I’d heard something special for the fans and my teammates. The players always asked me to come back soon. They knew I wanted to stay. After the goals in the Copa Libertadores final, it’s inevitable to say that my name is marked in the history of Flamengo. I share a lot, a lot with my team-mates. I feel at home. I hope to stay here for a long, long time. We can give even more victories to the fans.”
Finally, the club’s president Rodolfo Landim spoke about Gabigol’s acquisition.
“I don’t normally attend presentations. But today is a special day, because Gabigol is here. I thought it was important to give a bit of balance to what we’ve done.”
Gabigol scored 34 goals and provided 11 assists in 41 appearances across all competitions for Flamengo last season, guiding them to wins in both the league and the Copa Libertadores.