Image: Divulgação Santos FC
Sixteen-year-old Santos youth player Gabriel headed to the senior side’s Copa do Brasil match on Wednesday to watch it with his father. Soon, however, Gabriel found himself on the pitch, shirtless, celebrating his late match-winner.
After another Santos player was scratched from the squad after using a nasal decongestant (who knew that counted as doping?), Gabriel was pulled from the stands and included on the Santos bench for the Round of 16 first leg against Gremio. After having already practiced with his youth side earlier in the day, a relaxing evening with his father was therefore put on hold. According to the Rio Report, Gabriel told reporters:
"I was playing a video game at home and came to watch the game with my father and only knew I would play when I got here. It was a present."
As fortune would have it, the young Brazilian striker got the call to inspire his teammates midway through the second half in a scoreless game. And, in the 82nd minute, Gabriel swept home Montillo’s low cross for the match-winning goal. It was only his seventh professional match.
Watch the goal below:
Scroll to the 4:19 mark
Expect to hear more from Gabriel, who has already received the promising nickname ‘Gabigol’ (just rolls off the tongue doesn’t it?).
Gabigol has represented Brazilian’s youth national teams since age 14, and the professional contract he signed with Santos last year includes a whopping €50 million buy-out clause.
In comparison, Neymar’s deal to Barcelona netted Santos a cool €57 million this summer.