Gabriel Jesus was compared to Brazil’s Ronaldo but ‘ran away from being a centre-forward’ after becoming ‘scarred’ by World Cup – now Arsenal hope to restore star’s confidence ahead of Qatar

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Gabriel Jesus was compared to Brazil’s Ronaldo but ‘ran away from being a centre-forward’ after becoming ‘scarred’ by World Cup – now Arsenal hope to restore star’s confidence ahead of Qatar

Gabriel Jesus is out for redemption.

The Brazilian is set to officially become an Arsenal player after talkSPORT revealed the club have agreed a £45million deal with Manchester City.

Jesus has previously called Arteta a fantastic manager

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Jesus has previously called Arteta a fantastic manager

Just weeks after Louis van Gaal reportedly told Jurrien Timber a transfer would dent his World Cup chances, Mikel Arteta has convinced Jesus that moving to north London would only enhance his.

Jesus, who worked under Arteta at the Etihad, has failed to ever really establish himself in Pep Guardiola’s first team during his five-and-a-half years at the club.

The 25-year-old did enjoy a strong end to the season however, highlighted by his stunning four-goal haul against Watford in April.

After that performance, Roy Hodgson likened Jesus to the original Ronaldo – a comparison ‘El Fenomeno’ once made himself!

Before City swooped to sign him from Palmeiras, Ronaldo told Globo TV: “I’m a fan of Gabriel as I look at him and see myself when I was younger.

“I see many similarities between us.”

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Jesus drew comparisons with Ronaldo after bursting onto the scene at Palmeiras

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Jesus drew comparisons with Ronaldo after bursting onto the scene at Palmeiras

But despite scoring 95 goals and winning loads of trophies for City, comparisons to Ronaldo have been few and far between in the years since.

And the reason for that is largely down to the 2018 World Cup in which Jesus failed to shine under the spotlight down the middle.

Ronaldo ranks second behind Miroslav Klose with the most goals at the World Cup, including a brace in the 2002 final which Brazil won.

Yet Jesus failed to find the target once in five games for Selecao in Russia as they suffered a disappointing last-16 exit to Belgium.

It was an experience that weighed heavily on Jesus, whose slump carried over for months into the 2018/19 season with City.

He told Globo TV: “I went to the World Cup as a key player and I ended up not scoring. It affects you.

“I was scarred by that. People will always remember Gabriel who did not score in the World Cup.”

Worse still was Jesus was dropped by coach Tite for his first post-World Cup squad, only returning after evolving into a wide forward position.

Jesus has shied away from playing the No.9 centre-forward role for Brazil in recent seasons

getty

Jesus has shied away from playing the No.9 centre-forward role for Brazil in recent seasons

talkSPORT’s man in Brazil Tim Vickery: “The low point of his career was the last World Cup.

“He appeared to be the solution at centre-forward for Brazil, he’d been very good in qualification, but then in the World Cup he had a mare.

“He didn’t score a goal. Much maligned centre-forwards have scored for Brazil at the World Cup, he didn’t manage one. It’s been a trauma for him ever since.

“What is he? Does he want to play as a No.9, or does he want to play as a wide striker? He has kind of run away from being a centre-forward.

“I spoke with the Brazil coach about Gabriel Jesus not that long ago and he said that after the World Cup he called over Gabriel Jesus and asked him, ‘Where do you want to play?’

“Gabriel Jesus said, ‘I don’t mind’, but the coach said, ‘Obviously you mind, you obviously have a preference, what is your preference?’

“And somewhat sheepishly Gabriel Jesus said he’d rather play out wide. This is important for whoever is going to buy him.”

Jesus has won four Premier League titles, three Carabao Cups and one FA Cup at Man City

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Jesus has won four Premier League titles, three Carabao Cups and one FA Cup at Man City

Guardiola often had Jesus play second-fiddle to Sergio Aguero

Guardiola often had Jesus play second-fiddle to Sergio Aguero

Arsenal’s plan for Jesus seems to be to restore him as a number nine after the departures of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.

The Gunners already have numerous options out wide, and are even intent on signing Raphinha to play on the right where Jesus featured for City.

And if anyone can restore his confidence in front of goal it will be Arteta, who worked closely with him during his time as a City coach.

“He’s helped a lot of players,” Jesus said of Arteta after the Spaniard became Arsenal boss back in 2019.

“When I want to do finishing after training, I tell him and he comes and helps me.

“So he is really fantastic for us. All the players know that — everyone knows that in the club. He is a fantastic guy and fantastic manager.”

Jesus’ last goal for Brazil came back in July 2019 – it’ll be up to fantastic manager Arteta to help him show his country why he finally might be able to live up to that Ronaldo comparison in Qatar…

talkSPORT LIVE – Don’t miss Brazil and Parlour!

Alan Brazil and Ray Parlour have been wooing audiences up and down the country this year with their hilarious double act, live on stage.

This is your last chance to get tickets for the final show of the tour, in Nottingham.

Both have lived life to the full both in their playing days and subsequently on and after their talkSPORT radio show!

Hear from both legends as they recount tales from the dressing room, from the studio, from their playing days, travels on international duty… and of course Cheltenham!

The shows will be hosted by talkSPORT’s Shebahn Aherne.

Don’t miss a belting good evening out. Click on the link HERE to buy your tickets.

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