“Every time I went away I was deceiving my mum. I’d tell her I was going to school but I’d be out on the street playing football. I always had a ball on my feet.”
Date of Birth: 3rd April 1997 (age 20)
Club: Manchester City
Jersey Number: 33
Gabriel Jesus was born in São Paulo and began playing soccer at a very young age. He started playing soccer in ‘dirt pitches’ where the sport was commonly called ‘street football.’ His childhood coach, José Francisco Mamede had complete faith in Gabriel’s performance and had big aspirations for the boy. In an interview with The Guardian, Mamede says that playing on dirt pitches is a good learning technique for young boys. They develop skills of predicting where the ball will go and can enhance their ball control skills to make it easier to play on artificial turf. Mamede also said, “I always knew he would turn out to be a top professional. When we had him as a boy I predicted he would turn pro, play for Brazil and get a big overseas transfer. It all happened exactly as I knew it would.”
On 1st July 2013, Jesus joined Palmeiras’ youth team. Soon thereafter, he became the top scorer with 54 goals in 48 matches. Gabriel managed to score 37 goals in 22 matches for Palmeiras in the state under-17 championship in 2014. As a result, Gabriel Jesus was received offers throughout the country and abroad. Jesus made his senior debut in 2015. He made a limited number of appearances for the Palmeiras senior team. During the next cup, Jesus finished the campaign with 4 goals in 20 matches and was elected Best Newcomer in the league.
Gabriel Jesus made the decision of moving to Manchester City, a Premier League club, which was willing to sign him on a contract until 2021. In January 2017, Jesus made his first appearance in the club’s starting 11, assisting a goal for Raheem Sterling in a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace. Gabriel Jesus faced a fallback during his 2016-17 career as he fractured a metatarsal in his right foot. He ended the season, in the few games he played, with 7 goals and 4 assists. Jesus made his comeback in the 2017-18 with his amazing partnership with Sergio Agüero. He did not score during City’s first 2 matches but began scoring a few months into the season. He managed to score 2 goals against Liverpool in their 5-0 victory on 9 September.
Gabriel Jesus was a part of the Brazil U-20 team that ended up as runners-up at the 2015 World Cup. He scored the first goal of the tournament during their 4-2 win over Nigeria. He was chosen in Dunga’s provisional 40-man squad for the Copa América Centenario in the United States. Jesus made his debut for the senior team in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification match against Ecuador. He started the match and scored 2 out of the 3 goals, in just 2 minutes!
Jesus usually plays as a forward or a winger, because of his tremendous speed. He is known for his ball handling skills, passing and dribbling. He coordinates with his teammates with ease and his passing accuracy is commendable. He was hailed by Brazilian soccer legend, Ronaldo, who said that Jesus is a key asset for the Brazilian national team.