Inter fans will be interested to note that Gabriel Barbosa was not called up by Santos ahead of tonight’s match against São Paulo state rivals Palmeiras. Coach Jair Ventura decided he had not trained enough since rejoining the Vila Belmiro outfit, and therefore could not be counted on ahead of such a crucial match.
The 21-year-old returned to his boyhood club having endured a frustrating 18 months in Europe, firstly with the Nerazzurri and then on loan at Liga NOS champions Benfica. Several esteemed coaches such as Frank De Boer, Stefano Pioli, Luciano Spalletti and Rui Vitória have all failed to get the best out of him, with many suggesting he does not work hard enough in training.
Indeed, not one of the aforementioned tacticians managed to work out what Gabigol’s best position is. He was often deployed on the right-wing during his previous spell at Santos, but it is debatable whether he has the defensive aptitude to play in such a role in the old continent, where the standard of competition is much higher.