Ferdinand reveals Arsenal defender messaged him after ‘criticism’ of mistakes – ‘He didn’t like it’

Jason Soutar
Rio Ferdinand and Gabriel.
Rio Ferdinand has revealed Gabriel messaged him after receiving criticism.

Rio Ferdinand says Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhaes reached out to him after receiving criticism from the Manchester United legend.

Gabriel joined Arsenal from Lille in September 2020 for a fee believed to be in the region of £24million.

He actually struggled for game time during his debut season at the club before becoming a crucial player next to Benjamin White and then William Saliba in the heart of Mikel Arteta’s defence.

The 25-year-old does have a mistake in him, like pretty much every footballer in the world, but enjoyed a wonderful 2022/23 campaign alongside Saliba.

He has found himself out of the starting XI this season, however, as Arteta messes around with his system.

Despite enjoying a great 22/23, Gabriel went under the radar thanks to Saliba’s performances.

And Ferdinand has revealed the Brazilian direct messaged him on social media after receiving criticism from the former England and Manchester United defender.

Speaking on his FIVE podcast, Ferdinand was asked if Gabriel being dropped this term is down to his previous errors.

“I said that last year,” he replied. “And he didn’t like it. He DM’d me. In the DM’s. This is a big thing, for me, with players today, they can’t take criticism.

“Players today, not all of them, I have had quite a few players who have come through their agents.

I have said, ‘Don’t you get your agent to speak to me. You get your player to come and chat to me and I will chat to him, no problem’.

“Yes, he [Gabriel] come direct to me, which I respect. But, at the same time, I don’t think he saw what I was saying.”

Ferdinand was perhaps referring to comments he made following the Gunners 2-2 draw at West Ham in April.

“I’ve said this about Gabriel a few times,” Ferdinand explained. “He’s rash, he makes mad, wild decisions.

“As a defender you’ve got to be calm. There’s no need for him to do what he did. It was a rush of blood, he needs to eradicate that, get that out of his game quick.

“As a manager you don’t want to see that. Because those types of things ruin the head too many times, it starts becoming part of their make-up, and you’re going, ‘hold on, can I rely on this guy?’.

“I think he’s had a fabulous season, Gabriel. But those types of decisions can be very costly, he’s in the run-in now. That will hurt, the way they dropped points.”

Gabriel has only played 24 minutes in the Premier League this term and Arteta decided to start Jakub Kiwior in left-back ahead of the Brazilian and Oleksandr Zinchenko in Saturday’s home draw against Fulham.

He did start in the Community Shield victory against Manchester City, however, playing 87 minutes.

The Brazilian has been surprisingly linked with a move to Saudi Arabia over the last week or so, though a move seems unlikely with the transfer deadline fast approaching.

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