At the age of 20, Gabriel Jesus reaches an expressive mark; Compare with other attackers of the National Team
It’s been an incredible 12 months for Gabriel Jesus, who celebrated his 20th birthday on Monday by returning to training with Manchester City much earlier than expected.
Indeed, the broken foot suffered in a February Premier League match was one negative in a year that has seen him with a Brazilian league title, claim an Olympic gold medal and take international football by storm as he was promoted to the senior side.
The boy from Jardim Peri took little time conquering his homeland and is now focused on getting back to action with City and continuing his European adventure.
Brazil’s new no.9, Gabriel Jesus looks set to become one of the modern greats of the Brazilian game. He was the Selecao’s joint top scorer of 2016, despite only having made his international debut in September.
He has already chalked up an impressive set of numbers for a young player who has such a long future ahead of him. And comparisons are already being made to some of the great no.9’s of Brazilian football’s glittering past.
By his 20th birthday, former no.9 Fred, who was the last to wear the shirt at a World Cup, was still making his way through the youth ranks at America Mineiro. He had earned national attention after scoring the fastest goal in Brazilian football history, his goal straight from kick-off in the Junior Sao Paulo Cup arriving after just 3.17 seconds.
Luis Fabiano wore the no.9 at World Cup 2010. He has just returned home after a brief spell in China and looks set to end his career in Rio with Vasco. By his 20th birthday, Fabiano was with Rennes in France but it wasn’t quite going to plan. He later returned after making just 11 appearances for the club and failing to score a single goal.
Another striker who made a great impact on Brazil was Adriano, who donned the no.9 at the 2005 Confederations Cup. He turned 20 in 2002 when he was already being singled out as a future star of the world game, tipped by many to become the greatest front-man in the world. He had yet to make waves with the national team, however, and was overlooked for Luiz Felipe Scolari’s squad that went on to claim Brazil’s fifth world title that year.
Perhaps the only man in recent memory who Gabriel Jesus can thus far struggle to live up to is the great Ronaldo. Arguably the greatest no.9 in the history of the sport, he wore the shirt at World Cups of 1998, 2002 and 2006.
By 20 he had already won the World Cup (though he did not see a single minute of action in USA). Ronaldo had been prolific in the Netherlands with PSV and had become the world’s most expensive player when he joined Barcelona in 1996.