Top Gunner Gabriel shares top tips at UCS

Arsenal’s Brazilian central defender Gabriel Magalhães took a break from his side’s Premier League title tilt to spend time with UCS pupils at the Hampstead school’s sports fields in north London.

Gabriel was happy to share insights into his playing career and life outside football during two question-and-answer sessions with pupils from the Year 8 (or Shell). The 25-year-old then moved from the pavilion and on to the grass pitches with the boys to participate in their practice matches.

The centre-back looked anything but weighed down by the pressures of a league championship charge as he enjoyed all the fun of grassroots football. Indeed, in the first of his Q&As, Gabriel insisted that Arsenal were simply taking one game at a time. He also spoke about his life, aspirations, rivalries and toughest opponent – naming “Kylian Mbappé”.

The pupils were also fascinated to hear about the intensity of Arsenal training under manager Mikel Arteta as well as about Gabriel’s own fitness preparations and approach to resting. The former Avaí and Lille player must be doing something right since he has not missed any of the last 60 matches for which he has been eligible.

Wearing UCS shorts and socks, the South American joined in a series of practice games involving around 80 Year 8 pupils and taking place concurrently on adjacent pitches. Accompanied by a Brazilian countryman in UCS’s Head of Football, Rodrigo Sousa, he got stuck in, joked with the boys, and even dispatched a penalty past one pupil!

Gabriel then returned to the pavilion for a second Q&A, this time with four Lower School students who had recently been awarded certificates of excellence on account of their outstanding commitment and contribution. Before leaving for home, the Brazil national team member stopped for autographs and selfies with thrilled pupils.

Gabriel is the second Arsenal player to have visited UCS during the past 12 months, following on from a talk by young midfielder Charlie Patino to students last spring.

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