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Frank de Boer has said Gabigol, Flamengo’s Copa Libertadores hero, was known as “Gabi-no-gol” while the two were together at Inter Milan during the 2016-17 season.
Gabigol, who is on loan from Inter, scored twice in the 89th and 92nd minute as Flamengo came back from a goal down to beat River Plate 2-1 in the Copa Libertadores final on Saturday.
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Both he and De Boer joined Inter in the summer of 2016 with the Dutchman sacked after just 85 days in charge, while Gabigol — whose real name is Gabriel Barbosa — made just nine appearances before being loaned out to Benfica.
“[Internazionale] bought him for €35 million. I didn’t know much about him, but they told me he was a fantastic player,” De Boer told Fox Sport NL. “He thought he could do everything while standing still, playing indoor football.
“They called him Gabigol, but we called him ‘Gabi-no-gol.’ He joined us with two personal social media editors and a bodyguard but didn’t do anything. The manager who came after me — I left quite fast of course — also didn’t get him to play. And then he went back to Brazil.”
Gabigol shot to prominence at Santos and was part of the Brazil team that won the gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and moved to Inter that summer.
However, he scored just once and joined Benfica on loan at the end of the season, where he made just one appearance. Six months later, he returned to Santos, where he spent the next 12 months and slowly began to rebuild his career with 18 goals in 35 appearances.
But in 2019, he moved to Flamengo on loan and is on course to finish the season as the country’s top goal scorer, as well as finishing the Copa Libertadores campaign as the leading marksman.
De Boer spent just 11 Serie A matches in charge of Inter and suffered five defeats before his dismissal. He was then sacked by Premier League side Crystal Palace after four defeats and no goals in his first four matches.
In December 2018, he was named manager of Major League Soccer side Atlanta United and led them to the Eastern Conference final, where they lost 2-1 to Toronto FC on Oct. 30.