Gabriel Magalhaes has highlighted Virgil van Dijk as one of the main defenders he admires after playing against the Liverpool star for Arsenal.
Van Dijk is currently ruled out for a number of months with injury, but one of the games he played before that blow saw him feature against Arsenal in the EFL Cup at the start of October.
Gabriel lined up on the opposite side for the Gunners that day, having moved to the London-based side this summer from Lille.
Gabriel has made a fairly positive start to his Arsenal career, with that appearance one of seven games he has started in all competitions so far. He has only missed one league game to date.
Now, the 22-year-old has reflected on his first couple of months as a Premier League player. In an interview with ESPN Brasil (via the Metro), Gabriel revealed how impressed he is with the competitive nature of the English top flight – and picked out one defender and one striker who have been his toughest opponents so far.
He said: “It’s a very competitive league, that’s why I chose the Premier League.
“A defender that I admire a lot and that I was able to play against was van Dijk.
“Also playing against Manchester City, we lost the game, but I was able to learn. When you play against big teams, you learn, you try to reap the rewards of what happens on the pitch.
“I was able to play against a player known worldwide as [Sergio] Aguero, who many defenders want to play against, to see what the style of play is like.
“There are also other players that I intend to play against and also together.”
Mbappe the toughest Gabriel has ever faced
Asked for his toughest opponent overall, though, Gabriel turned his mind back to his days playing in Ligue 1.
Gabriel spent four years on the books at Lille. While there, he came up against some of the best players France has to offer. One of those has been his biggest challenge yet.
“[Kylian] Mbappe was difficult,” he revealed. “He was very fast, but there are others I’ve played against who are also great players.”
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