Gabriel Jesus speaks to Sport Witness’ Lucas Sposito ahead of Man City move
Things have happened real quickly in the life of Gabriel Jesus. The boy who made his professional debut just last year has picked up some silverware, and his name is now known worldwide.
As he emotionally prepares himself to leave Palmeiras, a bigger challenge comes ahead. By New Year’s Eve, he’ll become a Manchester City player, the result of a personal call from Pep Guardiola which convinced him to accept a €32m move.
“I haven’t spoken to him any more. It was just at the time of the negotiations,” says the 19-year-old in an exclusive interview with Sport Witness.
But the youngster is now a totally different player than he was when announced by City in early August. Many things happened in the months since.
First, an unprecedented Olympic title that Brazil were chasing for far too long. Then, an impressive start for the national team, with five goals in five games. Now wearing the number nine which once belonged to his idol Ronaldo, Gabriel Jesus knows he’s not just another prospect anymore.
The youngster recently lived a six-match goal drought for Palmeiras which tested his psychological skills, but he finally smashed it last week with a very important goal for the title race.
“You see, everyday I try to mature more and more. I learned a lot at the Olympics, with the national team and at Palmeiras. At Palmeiras, for example, I had to have patience and work even more to get back to scoring goals, which happened against Atlético-MG. I think I’m more mature and more thankful with the life I have today. God has been very good for me.”
Gabriel has only a couple more games for Palmeiras, the club who took care of him since he was sixteen. The next fixture, which will happen on Sunday, will be pretty special: it’s the club’s last home game this year, where they only need a draw to win the Brazilian league title, something that hasn’t happened in 22 years.
Yes, the last time Palmeiras lifted the trophy, Gabriel Jesus wasn’t even born. That’s why when asked about the stars he’s looking forward to playing alongside at Manchester City, he isn’t nearly concerned about that.
“Look, everyone asks me this, but my head is still at Palmeiras, on the Brazilian title, which could be done on Sunday.
“About Manchester, the position I’ll play, the teammates, I want to leave it for later. Of course I’ve already spoken to Fernandinho about how is it there, but now I want to live my last moments at Palmeiras, which is the club who gave me everything and I’ll love for my entire life.”
With twelve league goals, which could be many more if he hadn’t left the club for the Olympics, he’s Palmeiras’ top scorer this season.
Those who haven’t watched Jesus play may think he’s another skilful kid who comes from the wing, as a typical Brazilian talent. Wrong. Despite being pretty skinny, he’s not afraid of the big defenders. That’s why he thinks he won’t suffer adapting to the Premier League.
“Yeah, that’s how my game style is, I don’t run away from challenges, I always go to the battle, I’ve learned it playing for the amateurs. I think I’ll adapt myself easily. But now, before really arriving there, it’s hard to say.”
Asked if arriving at Manchester City in the middle of the season will make it easier or harder to get into the team, he says: “I don’t know, honestly, I don’t know. Let’s see how it will be when I get there. I just want to adapt myself as quickly as possible.”
We better just stop bothering him for now and let him celebrate his last days in Brazil. With another trophy in his hands, they surely won’t be so sad.