SPECIAL STORY: Gabriel – From Unai To Milan

Do you think you know everything about Gabriel? Not even close…

Another question – What do you think might a tough contract extension do to people? Come on, it is easy: It might cause them to join Milan! From now on, we are going to bring you the slightest and most delicate details about our fancy players.

Milan signed Gabriel Vasconcellos Ferreira back in May 2012 for a sum in between €300,000 and €500,000, however he has yet to make a debut for the Italian outfit. His Cruzeiro contract expired the month and but the Brazilian club put a hold on the deal until November. Then the reported quarrel had happened and the next thing you know is the Italians luring the young goalkeeper.

Brazilian state Minas Gerais is where Gabriel made his name known to the broader public. Having a passion for football is the main factor for him to get noticed and stand at the post during his college time. The 20-year-old has recently got a company by Riccardo Saponara in the “Kaka fanzone” . He has once revealed to have always admired the former Milan midfielder, alongside former Inter goalkeeper, Julio Cesar.

The childhood probably represents a bitter topic for Gabriel, due to the fact that he has actually grown up with no father’s figure around. He told Brazilian reporter Maicon Mendes that father died in a car crash when he was only 6 years old, leaving his mother take a single-handed care of the children.

Gabriel has two siblings – a sister and a brother – both younger than him. In his free time, the former Cruzeiro goalkeeper enjoys playing video games.

The Cruzeiro youth academy decided to lure him and he made it into the first squad in 2010. During the time there, he also featured as an unused substitute with the first team on many occasions. Despite that, he was called up for the 2011 South American Youth Championships squad in February, appearing in eight games out of nine. He even got an assist on his name during the match against Chile.

Few months later, he was called up by coach Ney Franco to take part also in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup. He played in all seven games as a starter, as Brazil claimed the trophy with the help of Gabriel’s two major penalty saves. The U-20 hero finished the tournament with a swollen, black eye after being unintentionally kicked in the semifinal against Mexico.

Almost half of the former Brazil Under-20 national squad managed to interest the top European clubs, just like Gabriel. Though some of them decided to stay in their homeland, they are now highly-regarded and are considered to be stars in Brazil. However, although at Milan, Gabriel has never got the chance to shine.

The talented ‘keeper took part in the 2012 Olympic Football tournament as a replacement for the former Milan target Rafael Cabral. He made his Under-23 debut against New Zealand when he managed to keep a clean sheet. Unfortunately, the squad led by Santos superstar Neymar failed to win a gold medal, ended second to Mexico in the final.

That year, he finally got the privilege to feel what it is like to play a professional match at full international level against Sweden. So far, Gabriel has featured in few Primavera games, including the one versus Pro Vercelli when he had a tremendous performance.

It was a notable year for one out of two Brazilian players in the squad of the Milanese club. 2013 will hopefully be the year when we finally get to see the youngster wear the Milan goalkeepers jersey for long-term.


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