If you follow the English Premier League, there should be one name on your mind right now: Gabriel Jesus. The EPL newcomer has been lighting it up for Manchester City in his short time at the club. Just to give a snapshot of how dominant he has been in his 3 matches for City, Jesus has scored 3 goals and 1 assist in just 2 starts and 1 substitution appearance. In his one substitution appearance, Jesus came on and in his first 3 touches he nearly scored, nearly had an assist, and scored only to be called offside. Gabriel Jesus has even pushed Argentine superstar Sergio Aguero out of the team. His rise to fame has been rapid and seems to be ever rising.
In City’s latest match, Jesus scored both goals including a 90th minute winner to beat Swansea to send City up to 3rd place in the table. But where did Gabriel Jesus come from? How does he play? Don’t worry, I have you covered on that. Keep in mind Gabriel Jesus is doing all of this at just 19 years old.
Gabriel Jesus’ career started like most Brazilian players, playing street football in their neighborhoods. He grew up in the neighborhood of Jardim Peri in Sao Paulo. He played for several youth amateur clubs in the region, the last of which called Associação Atlética Anhanguera. After being discovered at one of his youth matches, Jesus signed a youth contract for Palmeiras in July of 2013. In that season, Jesus showed exactly why he deserved to be playing for the club, he scored 54 goals in 48 matches.
After the season, he signed a 3-year contract that had an additional two included, with the club that saw his pay increase, and an interesting deal that saw his economic rights shift from 75-25% in favor of his club, to 70-30% in favor of his agents. It should be noted that this is not an uncommon occurrence for South American players to often have multiple party ownership rights, which often hinder big clubs from being able to complete deals for the players.
In 22 matches for the Under-17 Championships in Brazil, he was able to score 37 goals. Because of that, he was included on the senior team’s bench for the first time on August 27th 2014, but went as an unused sub. The club was in a tight relegation battle and fans were screaming for Gabriel to play for the team, but it never came. He finally made a senior debut March 7th, 2015 but did not make his first start until April 29th, with his first start in the Brazillian Serie A coming on May 9th. His first professional goal came on July 15th of that year in a crucial score that helped send Palmeiras into the next round of the cup. He finished the 2015 season with 4 goals from 20 games and was even voted the newcomer of the year for Brazil’s Serie A.
In 2016, Gabriel’s life would take a huge turn in a positive way. He would score 12 goals in that season and was chased highly by many big clubs around the world. Barcleona, Real Madrid, PSG, and Inter Milan were just some of the clubs that were highly interested in landing the youngster at their club. But on August 3rd, Manchester City and Gabriel Jesus announced that an agreement was officially in place for him to join City in January of 2017 for a reported fee of 27 million pounds. After the move was announced, Jesus still had to play the rest of the season in Brazil for his club. He led Palmeiras to their first national title since 1994 and in his last match, he raised the trophy and gave a very emotional goodbye to the supporters saying “ I hope you will never forget me, because I will never forget you.” Gabriel would walk away in tears, a champion and the winner of the Bola de Ouro, the Brazilian player of the year award.
After joining City officially on January 19th, Jesus has been a force for City and looks to send city into the future with Sane, Sterling, and Iheanacho by his side. Since his short time at the club, City have climbed from 5th to 3rd in the table and are within 1 point of overtaking Tottenham for the 2nd place spot. This young man has maturity well above his years and is set to become one of the brightest talents in the world. He said he wanted to win a Ballon d’Or while at City, if he keeps this up, he may go on and do it.
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