It’s a long shot, but in Brazil this is his nickname: this youngster is known as “Fenomeno do Palmeiras” or “Novo Fenomeno”. He plays for Palmeiras, the “Italian” Brazilian team who are the latest team to win the Brazilian cup.

We won’t draw a comparison between Luis Nazario da Lima Ronaldo and Gabriel Fernando de Jesus. It’s a long way to the top for this teenager, although he has got what it takes to to be a star for some of Europe’s elite football clubs.

He’s 19 years old. He was born in Sao Paulo, in the favelas of Jardim Peri, and started playing football on the streets, as many other past players have done. He started playing football for the amateur Anhanguera, and at the age of 16 he scored 54 goals in just 48 appearances. He joined Palmeiras after these staggering performances. Whilst playing for the under-17 team he scored 37 goals in 22 appearances in Campeonato Paulista.

In 2014 the Palmeiras fans pleaded with the club to give him an opportunity in the first team, but Palmeiras were struggling to survive in the first division and Gabriel didn’t play a match. Maybe this has been a good thing for him, because in those situations it’s hard for young players to express themselves and showcase their talents.

Why is he so popular? He’s a forward, which is a  role that Brazilian clubs and the National team are currently struggling to fill. He’s a skillful dribbler, creative and fast; in the Brazilian national youth team he has displayed good passing ability as well as some customary tricks associated with Brazilian players such as backheels and nutmegs.

He has been closely watched by a host of top European clubs such as Manchester United, Arsenal, Juventus, Roma, Internazionale and many more. All of these clubs needs a good forward and the brazilian wonderkid seems not only a hot prospect for the future but also a great deal for the present. At the moment he doesn’t want to move from Palmeiras as he said recently, but the appeal of those elite European clubs could be compelling.

With Gabriel Barbosa and Matheus Pereira he seems to be the most important player of the next generation of Brazilian footballers. He plays for Palmeiras who are a rival club to Santos and Corinthians, so their fans wanted him in the senior National team before the other young talents. And he did it: he has been called by the Brazilian first team, maybe because they lack in the forward department and have a large number of wingers and playmakers.

All of Brazil hope to see a good forward player emerge for the national team: Neymar often plays in that role, but he’s better as a winger. Could Gabriel be the player they have been waiting for?

About the author – Marco Santanche

Marco was born in Rome and supports Inter because of Luiz Nazario Da Lima Ronaldo. He is a Brazilian citizen because of his father’s roots.  He played futsal for several years, even in the FIGC (Italian FA) as a winger, playmaker and striker.  He is now studying for a degree in finance.



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Barcelona go into the second Clásico of the season in incredible form. The Catalans are unbeaten in 39 games in all competitions, a run which included the 4-0 thrashing of Madrid at the Bernabéu in November. Los Blancos are in decent form themselves, winning 5 in a row since they lost the Madrid derby at the end of February.

Both sides will be at full strength, which means we will be able to enjoy what are probably the two best attacks in world football. Barça have a very settled and successful XI which picks itself, but Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane will have a couple of decisions to make regarding his team.


Zidane cannot afford to make the same mistake as his predecessor Rafa Benítez and is therefore likely to field Casemiro alongside Kroos and Modrić in what looks a more defensive-minded midfield than the unbalanced one that started the previous Clásico.

His other decision will be who is tasked with dealing with the threat of Neymar, as neither Dani Carvajal nor Danilo have been especially convincing in the right-back position for Los Blancos this season.


Barcelona go into the game 10 points ahead of their arch rivals and will be confident of extending that lead here. They will want to put on a show as the Camp Nou pays it’s respects to Johan Cruyff, the main influence behind the Barcelona we know today.

For Madrid, a win would keep their slim hopes of La Liga alive, but they will be more keen to just show that they can compete with Barça as the two sides could meet again in the latter stages of the Champions League.


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Two of the biggest club’s in world football go head-to-head at the Camp Nou on Saturday evening, for the second El Clásico of the season.

Real Madrid are trailing behind their bitter rivals and need to win to stand any chance of clawing their way back into the title race. Ahead of what promises to be another thriller, we look at some Clásicos stats:

0 – Clásicos Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has presided over compared with three for his Barcelona counterpart Luis Enrique – a 3-1 defeat at the Santiago Bernabéu & 2-1 win at Camp Nou last season and a 4-0 thumping over their bitter rivals last November.

75 – Messi, Suárez & Neymar have scored 75% of Barcelona’s goals this season compared to 73% for Madrid’s attacking trio.

389 – The number of goals Madrid have scored in official Clásicos, which is 11 more than Barcelona.

14 – The shirt number of former player and manager, Johan Cruyff, who shaped Barcelona and will be honored at the game.

6 – Real Madrid have only won 6 of the last 27 Clásicos that have been played since the start of the 2008/09 season.

499 – The number of career goals that Lionel Messi has scored and he could score his 500th during the game.

231 – The number of Clásico  played since the first once in the semi finals of the Copa del Rey in 1902.

10 – The number of points that Real Madrid are behind their fierce rivals.

68 – The 68th minute of the game is the time in which the most goals are scored – 17 in total.

52 – The number of goals scored from the penalty spot.

3780 – Gento is the player with the most minutes played in El Clásico with 3,780.

21 – Lionel Messi is the player with the most Clásico goals with 21.

13 – Lionel Messi is the player with the most Clásico assists with 13.

25 – There have been 259 different scorers.

500M – The estimated number of fans around the world who will watch El Clásico.

71 – Since 1929 Real Madrid have won 71 of their 171 La Liga encounters with Barcelona.

8 – The last 8 Ballon d’Ors have been won by Messi and Ronaldo with 5 and 3 respectively.

39 – Barcelona are hoping to extend their current 39 game unbeaten run.

550 – There have been 550 El Clásico goals in La Liga, which is an average of 3.2 per game.

2002 – There hasn’t been a 0-0 draw since November 2002.


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Real Madrid’s attacking trio of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo (BBC) go head-to-head with Barcelona’s Lionel MessiLuis Suárez and Neymar (MSN) in the second La Liga Clasico of the season.

Real Madrid will be out for revenge after losing 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabéu in November. The visitors attacking trio have some remarkable goal-scoring figures this season, but so have Barcelona’s.

Which of these Spanish giants attacking trios have the best statistics this season?


The last three La Liga Clasicos have finished Real Madrid 3-1 Barcelona, Barcelona 2-1 Real Madrid and Real Madrid 0-4 Barcelona. 8 of the 11 goals have been scored by the BBC and MSN trios. Whichever strike-force performs the best on the day will likely seal victory for their team.


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Of all the teams in Sao Paulo (Brazil) there’s a team where stars never stop shining: Santos FC. From Pelè to Neymar, the next young Brazilian talent from the Peixe (“fish” in English, because Santos is the only club next to the sea out of the 4 major clubs in Sao Paulo) could be Gabriel Barbosa.

Quick, skillful, fast, with good long range passing ability, he plays mainly at CF and RW. Predominantly left footed, he loves to play defence splitting through balls and to target the opposition defences at pace. Growing up in the youth ranks, he was he was affectionately referred to as “Gabigol” by his team mates as a result of him scoring over 100 goals for his team.

At a Height of 1.78 cms, he’s possesses good heading ability. On top of this his finishing ability for someone so young, gives him the foundations to become a top CF. He can also play as a playmaker because of his good range of passing. Although at present he hasn’t scored as much for the Santos First Team,  he’s a player developing at a fast rate, and has attracted admiring glances from a number of top European clubs, who are eager to unearth the next footballing superstar from Brazil.

However, to fulfill his potential and become a future star, he has to improve his work rate, defensive attitude and tactical positioning: he rarely helps his team in pressing and recovering the ball, he never tackles and has to improve his right foot shooting. His mental approach is aggressive, sometimes a little too much: in a match against Sao Paulo he scored and took off his shirt, gaining a second yellow card. Santos lost that match in the last minutes. His Brazil U20 team won the Cotif Youth Cup in Spain, but he didn’t play in the final having being dismissed in the match against Argentina.

However, at 19 years old, surely it is only a matter of time before he moves to Europe, where he can develop his talent and mentality. If he continues training, developing and progressing with his team, he has the potential become one of the best Brazilian players in the world.

About the Author – Marco Santanche

Marco was born in Rome and supports Inter because of Luis Nazario da Lima Ronaldo. He’s a Brazilian citizen because of his father’s roots, and he has played futsal for several years, even in FIGC (the Italian FA) as a winger, playmaker and striker. He is now studying for a degree in finance.


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Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d’Or award for the world’s best player for a record fifth time.

The 28-year-old Argentine claimed the 2015 award at the annual ceremony in Zurich on Monday evening claiming 41.33% of the vote. The award is voted for by a panel of journalists, international coaches and captains. Real Madrid forward Ronaldo was second with 27.76% of the vote and Barca’s Neymar was third with 7.86%.

Upon receiving the award Messi said: “This is a very special moment for me to be back here on this stage again winning another Ballon d’Or.”

“It’s incredible that it’s my fifth and is much more than anything I could have dreamed of as a kid. I want to thank all of those who voted for me first of all. I also want to thank my team-mates, as I always say none of this wold ever have been possible without them.”

“And lastly, I want to thank football in general for everything it has brought me, both the bad and the good, because it has made me grow and learn always.”

Over the past eight years the award has only been won by either Messi or Ronaldo.


Below is the full list of the awards at the FIFA ceremony:

Ballon d’Or – Lionel Messi

World Coach of the Year – Luis Enrique

Puskas Goal of the Year – Wendrell Lira (view here)

FIFA / FIFAPro World XI – Manuel Neuer; Marcelo, Thiago Silva, Sergio Ramos, Dani Alves; Andres Iniesta, Luka Modric, Paul Pogba; Neymar, Lionel Messi, Ronaldo.

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