New boy Gabriel says he was surprised and elated by his first call-up to the Brazilian national team as Dunga’s side get ready for friendly games with France and Chile.
The 24-year-old has looked comfortable in five appearances for the Gunners since his January transfer from Villarreal and could further consolidate his burgeoning credentials in Europe with a debut for his country during the Interlull.
Speaking to the Brazilian Football Federation’s official website, the defender said: “It’s a great surprise, one of the happiest moments of my life.
“Every player from the moment they start playing football wants to get the call and to represent the Seleção.
“It’s a sign that my matches are being watch, which is good and it stimulates me even more to continue playing well for Arsenal.”
Arsenal has of course had its fair share of Brazilians during the Arsene Wenger era with Gilberto earning iconic status for his exploits with the ‘Invincibles’ and others like Sylvinho, Edu and Eduardo* all enjoying cult status.
Reflecting on the strong ties between N5 and Brazil, Gabriel continued: “They are very fond of Brazilian players. I am very happy to be more representating my country at a club with as much tradition as Arsenal.”
Brazil take on France at the Stade de France on Thursday – a match before which ex-Gunners Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira will have their international careers honoured – and then face Alexis Sanchez’s Chile at the Emirates on Sunday. Tickets for the latter are still available.
*Yeah, we know he played for Croatia, but he was born in Brazil.