SAO PAULO — Flamengo striker Gabriel Barbosa has scored his 43rd goal this year and tied Neymar’s best scoring seasons in South American soccer.
Gabriel, nicknamed Gabigol, netted one in Flamengo’s 6-1 win against Avai on Thursday in the penultimate round of the Brazilian championship.
Neymar also scored 43 in 2010 and 2012 playing for Santos.
Once a flop at Inter Milan and Benfica, the 23-year-old Gabriel helped the Rio de Janeiro club to a dream season, winning the Brazilian championship and the Copa Libertadores this month. He leads the championship with 25 goals in 28 matches, and led the Copa with nine.
Gabriel will have the chance to overtake Neymar’s tally on Sunday against Santos in the last round of the Brazilian championship, and later this month at the Club World Cup in Qatar.
Gabriel’s loan to Flamengo expires at the end of the year. Fans at Maracana Stadium asked him to stay for next season, but in interviews he has been reticent about his future.