Pioli: Gabigol will play when I decide

The Brazilian, who has been generating plenty of transfer talk, was an unused substitute for the 11th time in Serie A this season as Inter faced Genoa

Inter boss Stefano Pioli says he will not be pressured into playing Brazil international Gabriel Barbosa.

The 20-year-old moved to San Siro from Santos in August, a major deal that was reportedly worth €29.5million.

However, the striker nicknamed ‘Gabigol’ has only played 16 minutes of football under both former head coach Frank de Boer and his replacement Pioli, all of which came in one substitute appearance against Bologna in September.

‘Santos dream of Gabigol return’

But after Gabriel was again an unused sub in the 2-0 Serie A win over Genoa on Sunday, Pioli stressed he will not be rushed into starting him.

“He will get to play when there are situations that I consider to be opportune,” Pioli told Mediaset.

“My only objective is what is best for the team. 

“If I think Gabi is in better shape than his team-mates, then I will play him.”

Felipe Melo, though, is one player who has been brought in from the cold by Pioli having barely featured under De Boer.

“It was a choice made by the coach and I respect that,” he said about his spell out of the side.

Agent: Gabigol will not join lesser club

“In truth, that experience helped me to grow, because it was the first time I wasn’t even chosen for the bench. It was difficult and people even said I caused trouble in the locker room, but that was not true.

“I am no longer 22 years old, I am 33 and can always help the squad with my experience.

“We are on the right track. It might not have been a great performance, but we worked hard and did what Inter need to do: win.”