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Gabigol has become the best striker of the South America

The former Inter Milan flop is absolutely on fire and but above all is completing his evolution

Gabigol has become the best striker of the South America The former Inter Milan flop is absolutely on fire and but above all is completing his evolution

A few hours after the great win that Inter Milan, the club that he belongs to, made at San Siro stadium against Borussia Dortmund, crucial for the qualifying race in the Champions League group stage, on the opposite part of the planet Gabriel Barbosa has shown to the whole world his incredible moment. In a packed and particularly hot Maracanà, given the importance of the match, the Gabigol's Flamengo trimmed five goals to Gremio in the Brazilian derby that was worth the Copa Libertadores final, thanks to two goals by the former Inter player. Which today, thanks to a terrifying sport journey, is the best striker in South America.

19 goals in 20 matches in the Brazilian league, 7 in 11 in Copa Libertadores: in addition to having equaled the performance of another striker who moved to Milan and never forget by Maracanà fans as Adriano, Gabriel Barbosa is currently the top scorer of both competitions. For this reason he could not miss the call from the Brazilian coach Tite, who at the end of September took him to the National team for the first time in three years, the dark ones spent in Europe and then back home, trying to recover as soon as possible his scoring average and his athletic moves. Seeing him together alongside Roberto Firmino, Richarlison, Everton, Neymar and Gabriel Jesus has a huge effect, especially for the many Inter fans who have (too much?) quickly stamp him as one of the greatest flops of the Thohir era, when his name was used for define one of the most failed periods of the recent Inter history.

We remember his first (and only) season in Italy yet, a period that the Nerazzurri supporters are trying to forget quickly: the hype for his arrival, the 450,000 virtual spectators who attended his presentation, three managers (de Boer, Pioli, Vecchi) and a season ended in seventh place with many players 'rejected' at the end of the year (Felipe Melo, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Stevan Jovetic). Among these undoubtedly also Gabigol, bought for something like 30 million euros from Santos and ended up paying too much the pressures that accompanied all the Brazilian strikers who arrived in Italy after Ronaldo. To make things worse, even that goal scored in Bologna just like 'Il Fenomeno' did, to which Gabriel Barbosa, playing only 10 times and often as a sub, has no longer been able to reply.

It's useless to underline how much today Gabriel Barbosa is a completely changed, not only technically but also mentally and physically: his left foot in South America has already pierced the opposing goal many times, the new oxygenated look has become a fashion inspiration for the young people of Rio de Janeiro, where the motto 'Hoye tem gol do Gabigol' became viral, and then the new proud exultation, of him showing his muscles to everyone because he feels an important and decisive leader. It took a while but Gabigol managed to create a new image of himself, perhaps the definitive one. On the other hand, he's only 23 years old and there's a final to be played soon, three years after that of the 2016 Olympics won against Germany. The next November 23 in Santiago de Chile Gabigol will be the number one danger for the Gallardo's River Plate, for what promises to be one of the most beautiful and uncertain matches of the last editions of the Copa Libertadores.

Even from this final a large part of his future depends, with Flamengo seriously considering keep him despite Inter's buy-back request of around 22 million euros. A choice that says a lot about the ambitions and the project of the Mengão of Jorge Jesus (who only touched Gabigol at Benfica, but who was in Lisbon on the Sporting bench during the Portuguese experience of the Brazilian), returned to the Libertadores final after 38 years and that last summer he managed to bring back to Brazil from Europe two highly experienced players like Rafinha and Filipe Luis and an unfinished youngster like Gerson, improving an already top-level squad already featuring Diego Alves, Rodrigo Caio, Uruguayan Georgian de Arrascaeta and the new craque, Reinier. The best team possible because Gabigol can feel perfectly at ease and make the best of it, at home, constantly acclaimed (on Instagram he has over 4 million followers, more than Inter) and finally a protagonist.