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Gabriel Jesús

Gabriel Jesús

From painting the streets to fulfilling a promise to his mother

The Brazilian dreamed of being a professional footballer as he painted the streets to earn money while the World Cup was being held in Brazil in 2014. Just a few months later, Gabriel Jesus broke into professional football and began to score many goals, all of them dedicated to his mother.

Gabriel Jesús
Gabriel Jesús
Gabriel Jesús
Gabriel Jesús
Gabriel Jesús
Gabriel Jesús
Gabriel Jesús
Gabriel Jesús
Gabriel Jesús
Gabriel Jesús
Gabriel Jesús
Gabriel Jesús
Gabriel Jesús
Gabriel Jesús

Gabriel Jesus signed up with Arsenal in the last transfer market. He has been an important part of Manchester City, the Brazilian National Team, and he has now started in his new club on the right foot. Behind his success, there is a story of overcoming great odds.

Gabriel Jesus was born on April 3, 1997 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. From the age of five, he spent his days playing street football. His idol was Ronaldo Nazario and he dreamed of one day being able to play football professionally. His family was very poor, with him growing up with three brothers in the north of the Brazilian city.

At the age of eight, little Gabriel crossed a dangerous forest with a friend to try out for Pequeninos de Meio Ambiente, a team from the city. The facilities were located next to the Romao Gomes Military Prison.

From the first training session with the team, the coaches realized that he was a very talented boy. He played on the field with every last drop of his sweat, and all his teammates wanted to play with him. Discipline was his main value, and he exhibited great professionalism even as a child.

At 14, Gabriel Jesus wanted to take a step further and try to fight for a place in a more professional team. He started playing for the leagues of the city, trying out for many squads. A scout saw the young Brazilian and signed him for Palmeiras, the biggest team in the city. It was the beginning of a dream coming true.

In 2014, Jesus painted the streets of Brazil for the World Cup to be held that same year. At 17, he needed money for his family and worked on the street while dreaming of one day playing in a World Cup like his idols.

That same year, he made his first major appearance in professional football, debuting in the first team of Palmeiras. In his first season, he scored a total of five goals. In the following season, the legend of young Gabriel would begin to grow. He scored 21 goals through the competition and Palmeiras won the national championship after a 22-year drought.

The Brazilian was in tears after winning the league, while Palmeiras fans dedicated a personalized chant to him: "Glory, glory, hallelujah... it's Gabriel Jesus." He made history at the club in just two seasons.

His story of triumph is marked by a special gesture. Every time he scores a goal, he walks to a corner and makes the motion of picking up a phone and answering. The imaginary phone call is from his mother, to whom he dedicates all his goals.

"Every time I score a goal for my club, my mother calls me. As soon as the ball touches the net, the phone rings. It doesn't matter if she's at home, in Brazil or if she's in the stadium watching me. She calls me every time. So I run to the corner pennant, put my hand to my ear and say 'Hi, Mom,'" the player told The Players Tribune.

The footballer's mother worked very hard to raise her family. She tried to go and watch his every game, even in the favela of Sao Paulo. She provided her son with education so that he would not fall prey to the vices and bad habits of a poor neighborhood, and she never deprived him of fighting for his dream. Sometimes the most food she could gather for her children in one day was a soda and one sandwich to be divided among four people.

In 2016, Jesus won gold at the Rio Olympics. He scored three goals, which made big European leagues sit up and take notice. After the competition, Manchester City signed him up for $36 million, a very high figure for his market value.

In 2018, he played his first World Cup, fulfilling the dream of that young Gabriel who painted the streets in 2014. In just four years, his life had completely changed. The following year, Brazil won the Copa America and the striker scored two goals in six games.

With the team led by Pep Guardiola, he scored 95 goals in 236 games, a remarkable record for the sky-blue team. He closed his stint with City winning four Premier League titles. The Brazilian has won many trophies, but the biggest victory of all has been to overcome his struggles in life, which he achieved through passion and discipline.

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Mariano Tovar.
Art direction:
Francisco Expósito.
Darío González.
Rodrigo Ludgero.
Texts writing:
David Adán.