The attacking midfielder will add Brazilian flair to the outfit.

Mumbai City FC are serious title contenders next season and have fabulous players in their ranks. Additionally, the outfit have brought in Cassio Gabriel, also simply known as Cassinho, ahead of the new Indian Super League (ISL) campaign. The Islanders are the reigning champions and they do not intend to stop. The club have shown incredible ambition, signing exceptional foreign and domestic players in the process.

Gabriel comes to the ISL on a season-long loan from Vila Nova of the Campeonato Brasileirao Serie B. The outfit play in the second-tier of Brazilian football and Gabriel comes to India with a lot of promise. He is a very exciting signing and will add to the firepower that MCFC already have amongst their ranks. They have some of the best foreign players in the division, which makes them one of the favourites to win the title again next term.

Cassio Gabriel will be looking to make an instant impact at the club. The loan deal will help both camps to achieve their ambitions. Here is what the player brings to the table and how the club can benefit from his arrival:

Past experiences

The 29-year-old started his career as a youth player for Fluminense U-20s. The club are quite prestigious in South America and their young players are very talented. Gabriel has played for several clubs on loan in the past. He moved to Croatian side Hajduk Split in 2013, then back in Brazil he joined Paysandu SC in the same year, played for Bento Gonçalves in 2014, followed by Anápolis a few months later in the same year.

His movement continued within the Brazilian league system after he signed for Guarani in 2014. In 2015 , he moved to ASEEV on a permanent deal. Cassio Gabriel then signed for Anápolis again in 2016 on loan. Later, Penapolense-SP, São Bento (SP), Piracicaba, Botafogo, and Mirassol-SP were the clubs he featured for before signing with Vila Nova in June 2021.

Club career stats

Cassinho has featured most frequently for Mirassol-SP (15) and Vila Nova (12). He has played in several competitions in the Brazil league division. The list of competitions includes the 1.HNL in Croatia, Série C and Série B in Brazil.  

The No.10 role is his preferred position where the player has played majorly in the past. One of the biggest assets about him is that he blossomed playing football the Brazilian way. He will bring flair and experience to the table. The ISL will provide a good change of pace for the midfielder. He will hope to bring the qualities similar to players from Brazil in the past.

Last season’s performance

The Brazilian played in the Brasileirao Serie B for Vila Nova. He made 12 appearances and also recorded an assist. He accumulated a total of 1784 minutes of football overall. In addition to playing in the second division, Cassio Gabriel also played a game in the Copa Do Brasil for Mirassol.

Gabriel also played 12 times for Campeaonato Paulista – Serie A1 for Mirassol. Although he could not record any attacking returns, he accumulated a lot of game-time. During this time, he played against reputed clubs like Corinthians, Palmeiras and Sao Paulo. The frantic pace of South American football will make it easier for the player to make an impact in the ISL, where he will enjoy more time on the ball. 

Type of player

Cassio Gabriel is an adventurous attacking midfielder. He is a versatile operator who can play as a No.10 or as an attacking winger on either flanks. Furthermore, he also possesses the capability of playing as a deep-lying playmaker. His versatility will certainly add more options, which will be crucial for MCFC.

The fans are also excited about the South American who will bring technical brilliance to the team. Plenty of players from Brazil have previously played for the Islanders in the ISL. Gabriel will join the likes of Andre Moritz, Diego Carlos, Cafu, Everton Santos and more who have donned the MCFC colours. 

How the player fits in manager’s plans

Sergio Lobera will be excited to have Gabriel among the ranks and will be raring to use him ahead of the new season. “Cassio comes from an excellent football pedigree and brings a lot of valuable experience along with his skill-set on the pitch.” the tactician said while talking about the player. Record-breaking signing in Lalengmawia would learn a lot by working alongside the Brazilian as well.

“I believe he can be a vital member of the Mumbai City family and certainly contribute positively to the team’s performance.” Lobera further went on to add. Clearly, the Spaniard is building a team that will be a force in the attacking department. Gabriel could be vital in that area and contribute with attacking returns. It will be interesting to see how the coach introduces the player to Indian football. 

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