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Is Barbosa’s time at Benfica coming to an end?

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Former Inter striker not seeing playing time in Portugal.

Olympics: Football-Men's Team-Final -GER vs BRA
Brazil forward Gabriel Barbosa (9) battles for the ball with Germany defender Niklas Suele (5) in the men's gold medal match during the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Maracana.
Eric Seals-USA TODAY Sports

Gabriel “Gabigol” Barbosa may be on the move from Portugal sooner rather than later.

It seems likely the Brazilian, who has not seen much of the playing field in Lisbon — he saw no action in Benfica’s 3-1 win over Vitoria Guimaraes over the weekend — will be leaving, but the question becomes where does he go?

Inter Milan paid £26.55 million for Barbosa from Santos FC in 2016. After a season with the Nerazzurri, the club promptly loaned him to the Portuguese side for £1.53 million.

The problem has been playing time. According to FcInterNews.it, Barbosa remains stumped as to why he isn’t getting pitch time, but he remains confident in his abilities to make plays and score goals.

“That is why if he changes his air, he would ask his agent to stay in the Old Continent [sic], convinced he could explode and give a decisive turn in his career,” the report said.

This season, he has labored to play only 59 minutes in four games, scoring just one goal with no assists.

One thing is pretty certain and that is Gabigol is not likely to return to Inter. FcInterNews suggests Barbosa could be dealt to PSV Eindhoven, but there has been little talk that would suggest that move being a possibility. Rumors suggest Genoa could be another potential destination, but Barbosa is not likely keen on going to a team in the lower half of the Serie A table.

The most likely scenario would be for Barbosa to return to Santos. The club has suggested “it would welcome the prodigal son.” Another scenario has Barbosa leaving Europe for the riches of China and Inter’s distant cousins Jiangsu Suning in exchange for fellow Brazilian Ramires.

The 30-year-old Ramires was sold to Suning for €22 million last year after spending six years with Chelsea. In a ‘six degrees of separation’ twist for you, Ramires was sold to Cheleas in 2010 from, you guessed it … Benfica.

Ramires scored 11 goals in 32 games in all competitions for Suning. He had seven goals and four assists during league play and four goals in the AFC Champions League.

Despite the potential deal, FcInterNews reported Barbosa rejected the idea of the swap, leaving Gabigol’s options pretty limited.

Of course, all of this would be made simple if Barbosa were to show his prowess at Benfica, but limited playing time makes that prospect very difficult.