Gabriel Barbosa: I 'followed my heart' by signing with Flamengo

Source: Xinhua| 2020-02-02 08:42:55|Editor: huaxia

RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Flamengo striker Gabriel Barbosa said Saturday he "followed his heart" by agreeing to join the reigning Brazilian and Copa Libertadores champions on a permanent deal from Inter Milan.

Barbosa, who spent 2019 on loan at Flamengo, signed a five-year contract with the Rio de Janeiro giants on Jan. 28 after Inter Milan reportedly agreed to a 17 million-euro (18 million U.S. dollars) transfer fee.

"I missed wearing this shirt. It's a moment of happiness, everyone knows that Flamengo is my home," Barbosa said during his official unveiling on Saturday. "I'm very happy to be here because I know I followed my heart."

According to Brazilian media reports, Barbosa turned down offers from clubs in Europe and Asia to remain in Rio.

He said he felt motivated by the club's quest for more titles in 2020, including another tilt at the FIFA Club World Cup after losing to Liverpool in the 2019 final.

"For a player to feel fulfilled, he doesn't need to play in Europe and leave his country," Barbosa said. "We have a good league. Flamengo play at a very high level and has a coach [Jorge Jesus] who is one of the best in the world. I have a five-year contract with Flamengo, and I intend to respect it and stay here much longer."

Barbosa scored 43 goals in 59 matches across all competitions for Flamengo last year, helping them to their first Brazilian Serie A title since 2009 and just their second Libertadores crown.