The brilliant Palmeiras and Brazil forwards tells the Guardian about the phone call from Pep Guardiola that convinced 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 mom 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 leads in January, has the potential to become one of best available forwards in the world but what draws him stand out even more is his desire to too help out defensively.
It is not a attribute he shares with too many forwards but then they are not able to get a rollocking from their mother if they do not help out at the back. Gabriel Jesus does. Yes, its true-blue that my mother has a go at me when I dont track back, he says in his first interrogation with non-Brazilian media since signing for City. We are very, very close and she expects 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 maintenances. She ever tells me the truth and her sincerity helps me a lot.
Mrs Vera Lcia is a constant and enormously positive spirit in Gabriel Jesuss life and that is no surprise considering his upbringing. The players father were killed when Gabriel Jesus was young and his mother grew him and his three brothers on her own. She was a cleaner back then and there was not a lot of money around. A football musician 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 really mature 19 -year-old. We meet 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 course of its interrogation. He starts by apologising for running late. I had to do the frost shower, he explains.
It has been a hectic 18 months for the man from Jardim Peri, a humble region on the outskirts of So Paulo( it is a comunidade , a kind of favela , merely a little bit more peaceful ). In March 2015 he made his debut for Palmeiras after scoring 37 goals in 22 competitions in the Paulista Under-1 7 race and at the end of the season he was named the best beginner of the Brasileiro .
And that was just the beginning. This summer he won Olympic gold with Braziland then shaped his debut for the senior unit, scoring two goals in a 3-0 away win against Ecuador. And he is still a teen. The former Brazil and Real Madrid striker Ronaldo, for one, is a devotee: When I construe Gabriel I think about my own past. He has a awesome outing ahead, Ronaldo told TV Globo recently.
It is not that long ago Gabriel Jesus was playing for the amateur team Pequeninos do Meio Ambiente on the lurches of the military prison camp Romo Gomes. He moved on to Anhanguera but, unlike many colossal endowments these days, he did not connect a top side Palmeiras until the age of 15 so his occupation was very much shaped by street football.
His childhood neighbourhood is always on his recollection and on his scalp. On his forearm there is a tattoo proving a son with a ball in his hand 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 sidekick 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 daylights[ 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 recruit the pitch knowing what I have to do to help the team.
He no longer lives in Jardim Peri but goes back to visit sidekicks. When doing so in December he was stopped by the police while driving his expensive gondola. A dark-skinned son cannot drive a neat gondola in the neighborhood 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 remain in Jardim Peri until last year. He could have left for So Paulo as early as 2010 but the fraternity did not furnish him adaptation, means that he would have had to travel for four hours to get to and from exercise, and that would have had a negative impact on his academy work.
Not that Gabriel Jesus paid too much attention to anything apart from football. My whole life has always been football and that exclusively, he says. Since I was six years old Ive only really was just thinking about football. I used to watch it on Tv, romp video games and so on. I just enjoy football. Some beings joke that I am too into it but football merely summarize up my life.
His discipline is remarkable for such a young age, and “its probably” one of the things that has impressed Pep Guardiola, the manager who was hopeless to introduce him to City. Gabriel Jesus was a red-hot prospect even before the Olympics and City were able to beat off tournament from Barcelona, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain partly because of a phone call from their new manager.
It was a complicated decision, but in the end my desire to learn triumphed, Gabriel Jesus says. The existence of Guardiola as a director at City and the fact that it is a great team were very important factors in my final decision. Guardiolas phone call was a huge part of me deciding to go there. It obligated me realise that Id love to work with him. I dont know him personally yet but he already induced me feel very safe about his activity there.