Most footballers you hear of have been training and refining their skills professionally since they were quite young. Some were even accepted into local clubs at ages as young as 11. However, the story of Gabriel Jesus is quite different.
Gabriel Jesus was a boy who had a dream and determination to make that dream work. At 17, before the 2014 FIFA Worldcup, Gabriel Jesus was a boy who painted roads and played football as a hobby. However, his passion and skill for the sport were so great that he rose against all odds, and three years later, he signed a deal to play for one of the best clubs out there.
Even though his childhood was difficult and he had to face many difficulties, his football career skyrocketed once he began to gain traction for his talent. While he was sitting watching the World Cup in 2014, he did not know that in just four years’ time, he would be the one expected to lead the Brazilian football team to victory against Russia.
Gabriel Fernando de Jesus was born on 3 April 1997, in Sao Paulo and grew up in the neighborhood of Jardim Peri. Throughout his childhood and teenage years, he was madly in love with football, and he even painted his neighborhood streets in anticipation of his country hosting the FIFA World Cup.
He was the youngest of four children and had a rather tough childhood. His father had passed away shortly after his birth due to a heart attack, leaving his family to fend for himself. Gabriel’s mother had suddenly found herself to be a single mother and the sole breadwinner of the family. Therefore, she had to take three jobs to make ends meet.
Gabriel Jesus, like other children all around the world, passed his time by playing football on the road with other neighborhood kids. It was on these streets that he realized that he had a passion for the game, and there were few other things that he enjoyed more.
It is reported that he played football in the morning before he had to go to school, played it at school, and even when he came back, despite how tired he was, he still played football. His childhood friend had commented that if his mother had let him, Gabriel would have played in his sleep.
Jesus was a good student in school and was talented in biology. However, academia was not where his passions lay. His ability on the field was far greater, and he knew that he could achieve so much more if he played basketball than if he sat in school and studied.
He started his career with an amateur team called Associação Atlética Anhanguera and was very diligent with his practice. His coaches remember that he would always be on time for training despite the fact that he had to walk an hour and a half. Jesus rarely had any money for bus tickets due to his economic conditions. Therefore, there was no other option but to make the hour and a half trek in flip-flops.
However, once he was on the field, it was clear why he made all that effort. He had great technique and excellent intensity, which allowed him to shine among other players. Furthermore, his intensity was an excellent tool to pressure rival defenses, which was a bonus for him.
The coaches loved him as he was a multi-faceted modern forward who could be extremely useful on the field. Furthermore, they could put him in any position, such as various attacking positions or even on the main field, and he would shine regardless.
Although Jesus had to face a lot of difficulties in life, he still managed to show up where he needed to. He constantly made efforts to fuel his dreams even though life was harsh on him. His family was very poor, and his mother had to work constantly so that she could support all her children.
However, his efforts were soon rewarded as Jesus rose to the ranks of football at an incredible pace. He was able to become someone footballers all around the world feared within three years. This shows how incredibly talented he was. Within three years, he turned his 3500 pounds per year salary into 75000 pounds a week, which is a testament to his talent.
Journey Through Clubs
On July 1, 2013, Gabriel Jesus signed a youth contract with Palmeiras. However, he did not debut instantly and had to train for two years before he could. Jesus was Palmerias’ star as he was their top goalscorer and scored an astonishing 54 goals in 48 matches in one year.
In 2014, Jesus negotiated with his club, and they eventually settled on him signing a three-year contract, with an additional two years. His salary also increased four times as much, and the buy-out also increased tenfolds and was now R$30 million. This deal also changed the balance of his economic rights. Now, Palmeriras had only 25%, and 70-30% was with his agents.
In the 2014 edition of the state under-17 championship, Jesus scored 37 goals in 22 games for his club, and received offers from clubs all around the company and even abroad. His first official match was a senior match on 27 August 2014, where he was included in Palmeiras’ squad as a substitute. He ended up not playing the match, and his team lost 0-1 to Clube Atletico.
He did not make any other senior appearances in the campaign. This decision was made by his managers Ricardo Gareca and Dorival Junior as his side was threatened with relegations. His managers were greatly criticized for this decision by the fans, and they demanded a change through a petition.
Jesus made his senior debut in 2015 when he replaced Leandro Parque in the 73rd minute. Palmeiras won the game 1-0 over CA Bragantino. He made his first professional goal in the second round of the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A on 15 July, It was the only goal of the two-legged tie. Jesus managed to finish the campaign with four goals in 20 games, and his team won the cup over Santos.
Due to his outstanding form, it was no surprise when Jesus moved on to bigger clubs. On 3 August 2016, he signed for a Premier League club, Manchester City. His contract was until the summer of 2021, and the club paid handsomely for him. It is reported that Manchester City paid a fee of 27 million pounds and add-ons. The transfer took some time to happen and was completed on 19 January 2017.
His first appearance with the club was on 21 January, as he came in as a substitute in the 82nd minute for Raheem Sterling. The match was with Tottenham Hotspur, where the game tied 2-2. Only a week later, he appeared in the starting eleven. He also managed to score a goal, and the team won the game 3-0 over Crystal Palance.
In February, he made his first Premier League start by replacing Sergio Aguero. In this match, he assisted Kevin De Bruyne and managed to score his first Premier League goal. He is also the third Manchester City player to assist in two or more goals in their first Premier League start.
His first Premier League goal of the next season was against Bournemouth, on 26 August 2017-2018, which his team win. After the next match against Liverpool, he had a goal drought for the next 14 games. Despite all his efforts, he could not score a goal.
Gabriel also suffered from a knee medial ligament injury on New Years’ Eve, and his game against FC Basel was affected by it.
Gabriel Jesus also played many matches internationally. He was a part of the brazil under 20 team, which finished as runner-ups in 2015 Under 20 World Cup. Jesus managed to score his first goal with the team in a match against Nigeria, which Brazil won 4-2.
He made his senior debut on 1 September 2016, in one of the qualification games of the 2018 FIFA Worldcup. His team played the match against Ecuador and won 3-0. Out of the three goals, Gabriel Jesus made two of them.
Jesus was also Brazil’s high scorer in the CONMEBOL World cup qualifier because he shot seven goals in 10 matches. He went on to start many of the World cup games and scored in many of them.
Gabriel Jesus is an extremely talented player, and his style of play is extremely versatile, due to which he is capable of playing several attacking positions. His coaches have had him play center forward, an out-and-out striker, a false nine, an inside forward, a winger, and even as an attacking midfielder.
His specialty is his pace, creativity, dribbling ability, technical skill, movement, finishing, and work ethic. These capabilities have allowed him to become a world-renowned player.
Gabriel Jesus is an incredible footballer who rose out of poverty to make a name for himself. It all happened very quickly for Jesus, who was just a 17-year-old boy with a dream. One year he was painting the streets for the FIFA World Cup, and three years later, he was the one player fans believed would lead the team to victory.
Jesus is a talented and versatile player, who has played many positions on the field and has excelled in all of them. He is considered to be a football star in the Brazilian national team who will lead them to even more victories in the future.