The rise of Gabriel Jesus”: His incredible rise to stardom, and the secret behind his ‘halo’ celebration.  > Untold stories >  The rise of Gabriel Jesus”: His incredible rise to stardom, and the secret behind his ‘halo’ celebration.

The rise of Gabriel Jesus to stardom. 

Your life can change from zero to hero within a few years, if you doubt this; you can ask Gabriel Jesus. He surely has a story to tell you- The rise of Gabriel Jesus. 

Arsenal complete the signing of Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City on a 5-year contract for a fee of £42m.

The Brazilian star has been Mikel Arteta main pirority in the transfer window as he looks to add to his firepower ahead of next season after missing out on Champions League spot to north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

Jesus has previously worked with Mikel Arteta when he was an assistant coach at City.(Image: Getty Images)

Arteta is big fan of Jesus’ dribbling, finishing and pace, but his work without the ball is also a major attraction. He is renowned for being one of the best pressers of the ball when not in possession and would suit Arteta’s demands for his forward line.

“He can play in the three positions up front, And when we need runners and players that help a lot with our high intensity and high pressing, he is the best in the world.” Former coach Pep Guardiola said.

” With him we can stay high, be so aggressive and get extra rhythm for our midfield players and our back four to stay high for a long time.” He said.

The rise of Gabriel Jesus: His Early life

Jesus grew up in Jardim Peri, a tough, uncompromising favela just outside of Sao Paulo where he first started playing for Mamede’s charity setup at the age of nine.

” When I was nine years old, I showed up there with my friend Fabinho, to see if we could play for the team. The pitch was just dirt, there was no grass, and it was surrounded by all these big pines trees. The only people who played there other than the kids were the policemen from the prison.”

Life at the favela was tough, but playing football there was even tougher.
“They went into tackles to break your leg,” Jesus told Manchester City’s website in an interview after signing for the club.

“But still sometimes I’d play as many as three or four matches a day: I couldn’t get enough of it. I can’t put my mind to anything else. I’m not interested in hanging out or partying. I think I’m obsessed.”

” For me, football was everything. The love of the ball was everything. Pequeninos only had training twice a week, so if I wasn’t there, I was playing in the streets of Peri.”

These were humble beginnings – but it has been key to Jesus’s progress and helped him develop an insatiable appetite for the game.

The Rise of Gabriel Jesus: His Family.

Jesus was the youngest of four children in a single-parent family. His father, who left his mother for another woman when Jesus was in the womb, died in a motorbike accident and had no part in the boy’s upbringing. His mother has been the one who nurtured the young Gabby to superstar.

Despite or perhaps because of these hardships, Jesus never wavered in his pursuit of becoming a professional athlete. His neighbour in the community where his family lived, Maria Rosimar da Silva, recalls a “quiet, smiley kid, only interested in football”.

“The boy is a superstar,” he says. “It seems as though the ball looks for him when it’s in the area. He is always in the right place at the right time. And he’s always been like that.” Mamede – founders of Pequeninos – where Jesus played his first competitive game, said.

Unlike many of his European counterparts, he wasn’t signed by a top club at an early age. He joined amateur clubs- Associação Atlética Anhanguera- in the region after initially playing street football, where he scored 54 goals in 48 appearances before joining Palmeiras’ youth setup in 2013.

The Rise of Gabriel Jesus: Samba on the street.

The rise of Gabriel Jesus

The rise of Gabriel Jesus : jesus painting the street of Sao Paulo.

It’s traditional well-known in Brazil to always paint the streets during a World Cup year. A year later after joining Palmeiras youth team, Gabriel Jesus was found on the street with a hosts of children painting the streets of Sao Paulo.

The rise of Gabriel Jesus

As part of a World Cup initiative, local teens decorated their hometowns with fancy paintwork.

Four years later, Gabriel Jesus has had his murals painted on the wall of Sau Paulo.

The rise of Gabriel Jesus

The rise of Gabriel Jesus: from painting his street to having his mural on it.

Life at Palmeiras

Following his huge 37 goals in 22 games for the youth side , a huge expectation was created around him even before he made his first-team debut.

“He was a consistent goalscorer for Palmeiras’s youth side and a lot of Palmeiras fans would go and watch the youth team, which they wouldn’t normally do, just because of him,” Tim Vickery, the BBC’s South American football expert, explains.

The calls for him to be included in the senior side grew rapidly, so much that during former Palmeiras boss Oswaldo de Olivera was found arguing with a supporter behind the dugout who was shouting continually for Jesus’ inclusion.

Jesus was later awared his debut, following it with a goal – which proved to be winning goal- against Agremiação in a two-legged Copa do Brasil tie. But it was perhaps his two first-half strikes goal against Cruzeiro in quarter-final that really announced his arrival.

Jesus finished the campaign with four goals from 20 games, winning the prestigious Golden Boy award at the end of his first season and also his first silverware after Palmeiras defeated Santos to win the cup.

It was a fine debut season – but his progress in the following year is more spectacular, where he racked up 46 appearances and scored 21 goals. More importantly, guiding Palmeiras to their first league title in 22 years.

The rise of Gabriel Jesus

Gabriel Jesus of Palmeiras celebrates with the trophy after winning the match between Palmeiras and Chapecoense. (Getty Images)

In recognition of his status as the star of the league, he was handed the award for the best player in the Brasileirao, the official CBF award voted for by players, managers and journalists, and also won the Bola de Prata, the oldest award in Brazilian football, currently decided by ESPN Brazil.

Gabriel Jesus in Seleção shirt.

Gabriel Jesus was part of Brazil’s Under-20 squad that managed to win the silver medal at the 2015 Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

Gabriel Jesus don the iconic number 10 jersey for Brazil in 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo: Getty Images)

His performances were already turning heads, and soon enough he got the chance to prove himself at the grandest of stages- the Olympics Games.

In 2016, Jesus would see himself featuring as part of the Olympic gold medal-winning Brazilian team, scoring four goals and a successful penalty shoot-out strike in the final, helping his country to win Olympic Gold for the first time in their history.

The rise of Gabriel Jesus

Gabriel Jesus and Neymar  celebrate with their gold medals at the Maracana Stadium  in Rio 2016 Olympic Games final against Germany. (Image: Getty Images)

Clearly destined to become a star, he was then later called up to the men’s first team when Brazil qualification was at dead end. He made his debut against Ecuador, scoring two goals and later becoming the top scorer in world cup qualifying round for Brazil- level with Philippe Coutinho- making it the first time since 2011 Neymar hasn’t taken the accolade.

The rise of Gabriel Jesus

Gabriel Jesus after scoring Brazil first goal against Peru in FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifiers. (Photo: Getty Images)

His incredible form would then run out at the worst time for Brazil, right at the start of the World Cup, where he started five games, got knocked out in the quarter-finals by Belgium without scoring a single goal in Russia.

The rise of Gabriel Jesus

After failing to score a single goal in Russia, Jesus becomes  the only Brazil number 9 not to score in a World Cup.(Getty Image)

Take for example, Brazil has fielded much-maligned centre-forwards in the past — Serginho in 1982 or Fred in 2014. But at least they managed to get on the scoresheet.

Brazil coach Tite confessed he wished he had brought in Roberto Firmino instead of Jesus. (Getty Images)

That elimination of ours was a blow for all of us, especially for me,” Gabriel Jesus said after Belgium’s match.

“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.”

Gabriel Jesus celebrates after scoring in  Copa America Brazil 2019 Final. (Getty Images)

He did make an international recovery in 2019, scoring three goals in the Copa America, including the winning goal in the final, as Brazil went on to win the competition.

Gabriel Jesus at Manchester City.

The rise of Gabriel Jesus

At 19, Gabriel Jesus made a blockbuster move to Manchester City.

In 2017, Manchester City beat a host of clubs to the signing of Jesus in 2016 for a reported fee of £30million.

Gabriel Jesus hit the ground running when he joined Manchester City. Still a teenager at the start of 2017, the striker made such an impression that for a while he was in the starting lineup and City legend Sergio Aguero was on the bench.

Gabriel Jesus started his Manchester City career with a bang scoring seven goals in his first 11 games for the club. (Getty Images)

However, Five and a half years later, it is apparent that he has not become the long-term successor to Aguero, an impression reinforced by City’s acquisition of Erling Haaland.

Jesus was billed as Sergio Aguero’s successor back in 2017 but he will leave the Etihad having never made more than 22 starts for Pep Guardiola’s side, playing just 51 per cent of City’ available matches.

Still yet, Jesus has averaged a goal every 160 minutes in the Premier League. Of players to have scored at least 15 times in the competition since then, only six boast a superior strike rate but the frustration for many is that his numbers are not higher, which raises an eyebrows on his finishing.

Despite doubts of his prowess in front of goal, Jesus excels in many ways: from his off-the-ball movement, versatility and to his pressing.

“But Gabriel doesn’t need to do a performance like today to score four goals to know exactly what he can do. Against Liverpool in the FA Cup, he had two clear chances man to man and he missed them, but always he is there, and Gabriel has this incredible ability because he is always thinking what is the best for the team.” Guardiola after Jesus scored four goals against Watford last season.

“A thousand million movements, he doesn’t get the ball and he still makes a thousand million movements for the other ones. And personally, when he has nights like this I am the happiest man in the world because always he’s there.”

“If he doesn’t play he’s there training the day after like it’s his last day, that’s why he will have a long career, he will have a successful career because of the incredible positivity in his mind and thinks for the team.” Guardiola said.

To have spent over five years playing for Manchester City under Pep Guardiola, as demanding as he is, says a lot. The team has been very successful in that period of time and no one can deny that Jesus didn’t contribute his fair share to that success.

His most recent contributions were crucial goals against Chelsea and Liverpool last season that helped City on the road to retaining the Premier League title.

But one of his most memorable contributions was the late winner against Southampton in 2018 which secured 100 points for Manchester City. That put the club in the history books as the only club side in English football history to hit the 100-point mark in a campaign.

His overall record stands at 95 goals and 46 assists in 236 appearances for City. Which is not bad for someone that arrived as second fiddle to Kun Agüero, and who spent his last two campaigns operating from the wings.

Gabriel Jesus with his fourth EPL title. (Getty Images)

He left the Etihad Stadium Pep Guardiola and Man City thoroughbred, and at the peak of his career at 25.

The secret behind Gabriel Jesus ‘Halo’ celebration.

Speaking to ‘The Players’ Tribune‘ in 2017, Gabriel Jesus revealed the story behind his iconic call celebration.

“Whenever I score for Manchester City, my mother calls me. As soon as the ball hits the back of the net, the phone rings.”

“It doesn’t matter if she’s back home in Brazil or if she’s in the stadium watching me. She calls me every time. So I run to the corner flag, and I put my hand to my ear, and I say, “Alô Mãe!”

Where will Jesus play at Arsenal?

After closing in on a move to the north London club, Gabriel Jesus will don the Arsenal’s number 9 jersey – making him the eighth player to wear the jersey – after Nicolas Anelka left the club for Real Madrid in 1999.

However, there has been a lot of questions mark regarding Gabriel Jesus best position, whether he’s a centre-forward or a winger?.

Brazil have hardly used Jesus as a centre-forward since Russia 2018, but in part that is his own choice. Tite called him over and asked him where he would like to play. He replied that he had no preference. The coach pushed him harder for an answer, and he eventually declared himself happier attacking from wide.

Cutting in from the flanks certainly suits some of his characteristics. He’s excellent running with the ball and putting pressure on opposing defenders. But has he been running away from the goal-scoring responsibilities of the centre-forward? If he could do the job for his country five years ago – and could be selected for City ahead of Aguero – then why not now?

“He hasn’t scored more than 14 league goals for Manchester City despite the loads of providers in the City’s team” – Gabriel Jesus arrives with a load of criticism. However, many do forget he started his career being the main man – this feeling which he has missed at City.

He left Ethiad to Emirates looking for that confidence again just like Alexis Sanchez did few years ago, swapping Camp Nou for  Emirates stadium.

Also, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta, of course, was there at City on Pep Guardiola’s staff when Jesus made such a promising start to Premier League life, and is ready to make him feel at home on his new adventure. Still at 25, Gabriel Jesus is still at the peak of his career.

The life story and the rise of Gabriel Jesus. 

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