After a month of speculation, Chelsea target Gabriel 'Gabigol' Barbosa confirmed today that he will be joining Flamengo - the Brazilian Serie A club based out of Rio de Janeiro, permanently from Inter Milan. The fee agreed between the Brazilian and Italian club is believed to be around £14 million.
Chelsea was hopeful of securing the signing of Gabigol in a swap deal for Oliver Giroud, who has only played in five matches this season for the Blues.
The striker joined Inter Milan in the summer of 2016 but after high expectations, he couldn't deliver and was loaned out to Benfica a year later. While at Benfica, he continued to struggle and only managed one appearance for the club. Following this, he decided to move Santos where he would find the form what got him the move to Europe in the first place, scoring 27 times in 53 matches in 2018.
For the 2019 season, Gabigol would join Flamengo on loan, where he bettered the previous campaign netting 43 times in 59 matches across all competitions, becoming a fan favourite along the way. His goals would help Flamengo enjoy one of the greatest seasons in their entire history which saw them win the Brazilian league title and Copa Libertadores for the first time since 1981.
Gabigol himself scored the two goals in the Copa Libertadores final as they conquered River Plate 2-1 in December 2019.
The Brazilian forward released a video on his Twitter account announcing that he would be staying at Flamengo for the "good of the nation".
"Here we live intensely," said Gabigol in the video uploaded on his Twitter profile.
"We fall in love, we smile, we suffer, we vibrate, we break barriers. If it is for the good of the nation...I stay"
The news comes as a delight to the Flamengo fans, who have spent the whole of January worrying they were about to lose their superstar striker. Now they get the chance to hope he picks up from where he left of in 2019.Published 29 Jan 2020, 13:08 IST