Manchester City fans are loving Gabriel Jesus.
Already Brazil’s No 9, Jesus was handed a cameo against Tottenham earlier in the season and almost claimed all three points for City. But the lightning-quick striker started at Crystal Palace, flanked by Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane, and destroyed West Ham in the FA Cup.
It did look like a glimpse into the future under Guardiola. With Sergio Aguero out through injury, the young, talented and pacey attack tore through Palace, beating them 3-0.
Jesus played a key part in the game, setting up Sterling’s opener, making an intelligent run for David Silva to find Sane for the second, and rinsing Joe Ledley to win the free-kick that Yaya Toure would curl into the top corner to make it 3-0.
Another thing for City fans to get excited about when it comes to Jesus is that he appears to surround himself with people who will have a positive influence on his career, while keeping him grounded.
He arrived in Manchester this month with his mother and two childhood friends to help him adapt to life in the north of England.
Professionally, he has commanded a great deal of praise from other great Brazilians, including Roberto Carlos.
He’s also firm friends with a Brazilian legend.
Jesus played alongside Ze Roberto when he broke into Palmeiras’s first team, and considers the former Real Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich midfielder one of his best friends in football.
The 42-year-old Ze Roberto knows all too well what it takes to make a success of yourself moving to Europe from the Brazilian league, having left Portuguesa for Real in 1997.
And Jesus has nothing but praise for his friend, who notched up 84 Brazil caps and two Copa America wins.
During his two senior seasons at Palmeiras with Ze Roberto, they helped the club to a domestic cup and won the title before Jesus’s teary farewell.
Talking to Man City, Jesus said of his friend:
“My idols are God and my mum comes second. And in football I have references: Ronaldo and Ronaldinho, because they wrote their names in football history when I was young.
“And now I have Ze Roberto because I have shared great moments with him. He has helped me since I arrived in the first team and he still advises me until today. I keep that with me, because he draws attention naturally as a result of the way he works.”
Let’s see how he gets on when he’s back from injury…