£11m player Arsenal sold in 2017 hopes to star for Spain at Euros after switching nationality

Sam Preston December 3, 2020
£11m player Arsenal sold in 2017 hopes to star for Spain at Euros after switching nationality
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Former Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista is in the final stages of becoming a Spanish citizen.

According to Spanish outlet AS, the centre half wants to be eligible for Luis Enrique’s squad and play at the European Championship this summer.

The 30-year-old was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil but has never made an international appearance for them.

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“I want to play with the national team and play a European Championship defending Spain,” said Gabriel.

He said he has dreamed of playing for Spain for over a year now and will try to ‘get the coach’s attention’ with his club performances.

Gabriel’s contract only runs until 2022, but he said: “I want to continue for many years at Valencia, fighting until the day I cannot run.

“I am very grateful to Valencia and their fans for the treatment they have given me from day one.”

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Gabriel departed north London for Valencia in August 2017, for a fee reported by the Daily Mail to be £11 million.

That was apparently a £4 million loss on the £15 million Arsene Wenger paid to land him two years previously.

He had a bit of a reputation for being temperamental, and was sent off against Chelsea in September 2015 after Diego Costa wound him up.

The report says he has established himself at Valencia now and approaching the prime of his career, has set his sights on international honours.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.