New centreback Gabriel has been speaking to Arsenal Player about just how much he went through to get where he is today.
The Brazilian joined Arsenal in January when our squad was thin due to injuries and we lacked major defensive depth.
I think it’s fair to say many of us weren’t too familiar with him and weren’t sure on the decision to sign him initially, but agreed reinforcements had needed to be made. Fortunately, the 24-year-old has impressed in the short time he’s been with us and he looks like a fantastic addition to the squad.
Talking to Arsenal Player, the defender described how his footballing career started out.
He’d failed trails at Brazilian teams Santos and Gremio, and had been given one last chance at a national youth tournament.
“It was in Copa Sao Paulo, the most famous competition for young players in Brazil. I was playing for Taboao da Serra and Vitoria was in the same group,” he said.
“We didn’t pass the group stage but my football was impressive. Then Vitoria called me for a test in Salvador. Thanks God, after that all went well. It was a three-month trial.”
He goes on to say, “The first month was easy for me because I was looking for something new, but time went by and I never received any feedback and then things started to get a bit more complicated. I had no money, even for simple things like going out with my friends. There were times I thought about quitting because I was always alone, but I repeated to myself many times, ‘This is my dream, I have to try harder. With my feet on the ground I will succeed in my career’.”
He went on to play for Villarreal and had been excelling there when Arsenal came a-knocking.
“I never imagined playing in England, but when we had pre-season games here I started to look at English football more closely and I wanted to join a Premier League team. I spoke with my agent and we had a friendly conversation about my desire of joining a top English club. Months later, this offer came, much to my delight, and things are going well.”