It was quite a surprise when Manchester City’s team news came out last night, showing that Pep Guardiola left Sergio Aguero out of the starting eleven for the match against Real Madrid.
Just like has been happening in the past couple of years, it was Gabriel Jesus who replaced the Argentine star, even though the Brazilian had a different job this time.
Switching between the left wing and the centre forward position, the 22-year-old managed to have a great match, scoring Manchester City’s equaliser, and then winning a foul which ended up with Sergio Ramos seeing red.
Gabriel Jesus’ good performance was the subject of his interview with Brazilian outlet Esporte Interativo after the match. He explained that his time at Palmeiras has helped him to become such versatile player now.
“In fact, I can kind of play there, be very flexible up front. I can play in four positions, which is on both wings, centre forward and second striker. I started at Palmeiras as a winger, then as a second striker and became a centre forward. So I can remember. I also have no vanity to run back and help my team. So I can do that,” Gabriel Jesus told Esporte Interativo.
“Sometimes people, of course, cannot watch training, they don’t see it. And I’ve been training a little bit more on the wing, reaching the middle a lot. And I’m very happy to have the opportunity to play here in a great stadium, against a great team. Being able to score a goal for me is a huge memory.”
During his press conference last night, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has also spoken about Jesus’ quality.
“There is not one striker in the world to have that intensity without the ball, like Gabriel, he’s so fast and so good,” said Guardiola.
“He is a guy who makes incredible runs in behind. He’s not an especially good player when he receives the ball to the front, but when he starts from the side to make diagonal runs, he’s so fast, so good.”
Gabriel Jesus is still just 22 years of age, and is already showing maturity and experience at the highest level of the game, it’s no surprise Guardiola is so pleased with him.