The story of Angelo Gabriel, record-breaking teenager Pele and Neymar at Santos

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“The fact Gabriel can play with any great team.”

1NEWS – Let’s get acquainted with Angelo Gabriel, the 16-year-old player who became the youngest goalscorer in the history of the Copa Libertadores.

Gabriel was more precisely 16 years 105 days old when he broke the 59-year record held by former Argentina international Juan Carlos Cardenas.

At club level, Angelo has also surpassed the achievements of Pele and Neymar Jr when the two great footballers of different generations played at Santos.

The record in question is that Gabriel made his debut in the Santos first team on October 25, 2020 in the Brazilian Serie A, to be exact against Fluminense. Despite failing to save his team from a 3-1 defeat, Angelo managed to create history.

He was 15 years, 10 months and 4 days at that time. He became the second youngest player in Santos history, beating Pele, by just 11 days. The top name is still held by Coutinho who made his debut in 1958 at the age of 15.

“It feels great to be in the first team so quickly. This is a very important experience for me,” Gabriel said after his debut.

Thanks to his talent, Gabriel has been linked with Real Madrid and Liverpool. Then, who exactly is Angelo Gabriel, and how big is his talent that he is eyed by European giant clubs.

Born in Brasilia in December 2004, Gabriel grew up in the City of Samambaia, where his father, Elismar, is described as “like a favela in Sao Paulo” when speaking to the Estadao.

Like a number of Selecao greats over the years, Gabriel has been forced to work hard from the start, although it was clear from an early age that he possessed extraordinary dribbling ability and impressive speed on the ball.

Because of this, he enrolled in the Meninos da Vila school which is affiliated with Santos. Despite interest from other top Brazilian clubs, he joined the Peixe academy, with his parents able to move with him to the city.

“In the first training session, we saw that he has a lot of skill and above average speed,” Gabriel’s first coach, Betinho, told Correio Brasiliense.

“The following year, we promoted him to Santos. He graduated quickly. He was fast and skilled, a good player with a lot of technical quality and attacking ability,” he added.

In October 2020, Gabriel had the opportunity to make his debut. Starting off the bench at the Maracana, the forward played the final 30 minutes against Fluminense.

Like modern players, Gabriel uploaded his special moment to Instagram. Gabriel said he was so honored to debut in the same week as Pele’s birthday. He ended his message with two simple words: “Favela wins”.

The youngster made a further eight appearances before the delayed 2020 campaign ended. And, since the appointment of new manager Ariel Holan in February, Gabriel has started nine of Santos’ first 14 games of the new season.

“I see a lot of potential in Angelo (Gabriel),” Argentine coach Holan told SportTV. “He is a young talent who likes to score goals.”

“I really like Brazilian football, and Angelo plays Brazilian football. The essence of dribbling, facing opponents, that’s what’s important,” he said.

“He has a big future. By working hard, he will be able to play not only at Santos. I’m sure he will be able to play in big leagues around the world in the future,” Holan said.

Currently, Gabriel has a release clause of 60 million euros and his own contacts are still running until 2023. Santos hopes Gabriel will follow in the footsteps of Neymar and Robinho who previously also had success at other clubs.

If that clause is finally met, Gabriel will surpass Neymar – a player who has been a role model for most of his career – as the most expensive sale in Santos history.
“He’s like Neymar in terms of dribbling with his pace and change of direction,” said one of Gabriel’s teammates.

However, Neymar did not make his Santos debut until a month after his 17th birthday. That means Gabriel is already one year ahead of the Paris Saint-Germain icon in terms of development.

Santos never seems to run out of talented players who are ready to make huge sums of money.

(atmaja wijaya/yul)

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