Gabriel - How I became a defender

Nowadays, he’s an established member of our backline - but were it not for the intervention of one of his youth coaches, Gabriel’s career could have taken a very different path.

In fact, the 26-year-old only became a defender after losing an argument.

“So I played at a local academy, it was called CDM Cafuringa,” Gabriel told Arsenal Player. "| had a teacher, who's now my friend, and today I help this academy [financially]. He's the person that still looks after it.

“His name is Clebinho and it was him. It was his fault, well not his fault, but it's thanks to him that I am now a great defender.

“When he asked me to go to the back we even argued. I didn't want to do it, because I played more as a midfielder. And after that game I ended up enjoying it. So I thank him for helping me then. He stood firm and told me that I'd be a defender, and thanks to God - and to him - things went well.

“I think things are changing in Brazil,” Gabriel added. "Football scouts and bigger teams aren't just looking at the attack. I think, for example, you can look at the defence and look at defenders at their peak, those that are in the latest FIFPro World XI.

“There are two Brazilians in the defence, Marcelo and Daniel Alves, and I think they've been in the World Team for two or three consecutive years. So this also helps change a little by not looking just at the attack. We must also look at the defence, because it has many great players.”

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