The brilliant Palmeiras and Brazil forwards tells the Guardian about the phone call from Pep Guardiola that reassured him to meet Manchester City and that his mum is never pleased with him unless he helps out defensively too
No one wants to be told off by their mother and Gabriel Jesus is no different. The Brazilian wonderkid, who signed for Manchester City in the summer for 27 m and will join the Premier League captains in January, given the opportunity to become one of best available forwards in the world but what prepares him stand out even more is his desire to also help out defensively.
It is not a idiosyncrasy he shares with too many sends but then they are not able to get a rollocking from their baby if they do not is to assist at the back. Gabriel Jesus does. Yes, its genuine that my mother has a go at me when I dont track back, he says in his first interview with non-Brazilian media since signing for City. We are very, very close and she challenges a lot from me, which is great. She only praises me if I have done something are worth kudo. I am really happy to have a mum like that, that actually cares. She always tells me the truth and her seriousnes facilitates me a lot.
Mrs Vera Lcia is a constant and immensely positive existence in Gabriel Jesuss life and that is no surprise considering his upbringing. The players papa died when Gabriel Jesus was young and his mother created him and his three friends on her own. She was a cleaner back then and there was not a lot of fund around. A football actor grows up faster than other beings, he says. I grew up very quickly because of the difficulties and responsibilities that I have always had.
Gabriel Jesus is a very mature 19 -year-old. We congregate at Academia de futebol, Palmeirass training centre and he is respectful and humble. He does not wear sunglasses or headphones and does not play with his mobile during the interview. He starts by apologising for running late. I had to do the frost bathtub, he explains.
It has been a tumultuous 18 months for “the mens” from Jardim Peri, a humble vicinity on the outskirts of So Paulo( it is a comunidade , a kind of favela , only a little bit more peaceful ). In March 2015 he made his debut for Palmeiras after tallying 37 purposes in 22 plays in the Paulista Under-1 7 competitor and at the end of the season he was named best available newcomer of the Brasileiro .
And that was just the beginning. This summertime he won Olympic gold with Braziland then drew his debut for the senior squad, tallying two objectives in a 3-0 away triumph against Ecuador. And he is still a girl. The former Brazil and Real Madrid striker Ronaldo, for one, is a follower: When I witness Gabriel I think about my own past. He has a superb jaunt onward, Ronaldo told TV Globo recently.
It is not that long ago Gabriel Jesus was playing for the amateur squad Pequeninos do Meio Ambiente on the tones of the military prison camp Romo Gomes. He moved on to Anhanguera but, unlike many colossal flairs these days, he did not join a top side Palmeiras until the age of 15 so his job was very much determined by street football.
His childhood neighbourhood is always on his thought and on his scalp. On his forearm there is a tattoo demonstrating a son with a ball in his hands looking at a favela in front of him, daydream of a better future in football. The tattoo is almost identical to the one that his acquaintance Neymar has.
I have always enjoyed working hard and thats why I try to give my best tactically as well as moving forward. From an early age, in my vrzea eras[ a special type of Brazilian street football ], I tried to take in all the instructions of all the coach-and-fours I had. I am the same today. After all, it is very important to enter the slope knowing what I have to do to help the team.
He no longer was living in Jardim Peri but goes back to visit acquaintances. When doing so in December he was stopped by the police while driving his expensive auto. A dark-skinned boy cannot drive a neat gondola in the region where he grew up without being stopped by the police. Everyone knows how hard it is to be pitch-black in our communities, he wrote on Instagram.
He stayed in Jardim Peri until last year. He could have left for So Paulo as early as 2010 but the golf-club did not offer him accommodation, means that he would have had to travel for four hours to get to and from educate, and that would have had a negative impact on his institution work.
Not that Gabriel Jesus paid too much attention to anything apart from football. My whole life has traditionally been football and that exclusively, he says. Since I was six years old Ive only really thought about football. I used to watch it on TV, participate video games and so on. I precisely love football. Some people joke that I am too into it but football only sums up my life.
His discipline is remarkable for the purposes of the a young age, and this is probably one of the points that has impressed Pep Guardiola, the manager who was frantic to produce him to City. Gabriel Jesus was a red-hot prospect even before the Olympics and City were able to beat off competition from Barcelona, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain partly because of a phone call from their brand-new manager.
It was a complicated decision, but in the end my desire to learn prevailed, Gabriel Jesus says. The spirit of Guardiola as a manager at City and the fact that it is a great club were very important factors in my final judgment. Guardiolas phone call was a huge part of me deciding to go there. It acquired me realise that Id love to work with him. I dont know him personally yet but he already attained me feel very safe about his programme there.