Laughing nervously? The photo posted by Gabigol the day after his expulsion at Fla-Flu from the Brazilian Championship is just one of the behaviors that demonstrate that the attacker seems to live in another reality. Undisputed idol after three goals that gave the team a Libertadores after 38 years, in 2019, and another in 2022, Gabriel Barbosa stopped living, since the beginning of this year, the routine of an untouchable player. And he didn’t know how to deal with it, according to reports from club sources.
A substitute for nine matches, without scoring a goal in 13, he has fallen out of favor since the departure of Dorival Júnior last year and the arrival of foreigners Vitor Pereira and Jorge Sampaoli. With Tite, however, he didn’t even have a chance as a starter. The new reality came about after, at the end of 2022, Gabi received the number 10 shirt that once belonged to Zico, and the expectation among fans and management of reaching a new status, with the prospect of contract renewal that would make him complete 10 years. from Flamengo. Now, the negotiations are frozen.
Internally, what is said is that Gabigol did not react well to the weight placed on his shoulders, on and off the field, and began to show a lack of confidence when he was passed over. The reality began to change in 2023, when the striker became Pedro’s backup once and for all. Throughout the season, he collects questionable attitudes and little football. The expected leadership role was seen on rare occasions, giving way to behavior that was often childish and spoiled.
But you’re wrong if Gabigol doesn’t care, let’s say, as the photo published out of context suggests. The player internally recognizes that he is in a horrible phase and lacks confidence. But he doesn’t give in. In training, he maintains a competitive behavior, hampered by an overload on the adductor muscle in his thighs that forces him to do supplements at home, with a private team. Amid the free fall in performance, the attacker saw other competitors asking for a pass with Tite, such as Luiz Araújo and Cebolinha. Pedro also responded in the last games. In the last 10, Gabi didn’t even kick the ball at the goal.
No apparent shock
To the public, the idol still tries to convey the image that he did not feel the blow. In recent days, he interacted with the fans at the Ninho do Urubu concentration, with photos of his room published on the networks. When going out to games, he occasionally jokes with a journalist, but never stops and explains the bad moment, minimizing it. Aware that he owes money, he prefers to demonstrate strength, indicating that the bad phase does not affect him. Among the other players, the perception is of greater isolation. There is unity and motivation among them so that those who are not playing can help each other. Now a reserve, Gabriel has to live a new routine on a daily basis.
The impression in Ninho do Urubu is that the number 10 has not known how to deal with this situation at Flamengo. Therefore, there have been inconsistent and even desperate reactions. After the expulsion, he published questions to the CBF for the red card. The board accepted the protest, but recognizes that the timing is bad. With four games to go before the end of the Brazilian Championship, the hope is that there will be a physical evolution and that Gabigol will be able to be decisive at some point, more because of the mystique he carries with the Flamengo shirt over the last few years, than because of what he has presented when is triggered in matches.
The next match is against Bragantino, on the 23rd, after the FIFA date, and without Gabigol, suspended. Yesterday, the team returned for training, and Allan and David Luiz are integrated after recovering from injury.