London (AFP) – Arsenal defender Gabriel fought off a baseball bat-wielding thief who attempted to steal his car in video footage released by the Metropolitan Police.
The Brazilian had just returned to his home in Barnet, north London, when he was approached by three men as he got out of his car on August 20.
One of the men, Abdi Muse, 26, was armed with a baseball bat.
The men ordered Gabriel to give them his car keys, but the 23-year-old refused to do so.
Footage of the incident shows the ensuing struggle between Gabriel and the men as he fended them off.
The men fled with his keys but left the car behind in the garage.
Muse was later arrested, and he was jailed at Harrow Crown Court earlier this month for five years after admitting robbery and possession of an offensive weapon.
“It’s not a nice thing to go through, when you have family involved and they’re trying to access your house,” said Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.
“Gabby showed a lot of character, you see the reaction that he had straight away. Credit to the boy. After that he was fine.
“He was shocked and obviously he wanted to change a few things in his life to make sure that didn’t happen again.”
Arteta added that Arsenal supported Gabriel in the wake of the robbery.
“The club gave him all the support that was needed to try and help him forget about the situation, learn about it and move on”, he said.
Gabriel joined the Gunners from Lille for £27million ($36 million) last year.
At the time of the robbery he had been sidelined with a knee injury, but he has since made 10 Premier League appearances for the club.
It was not the first time that an Arsenal player has had to face off against robbers.
Two armed men attempted to rob expensive watches from defender Sead Kolasinac and midfielder Mesut Ozil in Hampstead, north-west London, in 2019.
However, Kolasinac fought back and was able to jump into a car driven by Ozil.
Ozil then drove them from the ambush as the would-be robbers pursued them on a moped.