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Brazil v Argentina

Jesus hopes to tease Man City team-mate Aguero if Brazil beat Argentina at Copa America

8:30 PM IST 30/06/19
Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus - cropped
The striker has credited his club colleague for helping him to find his form and is now ready for a big semi-final battle

Sergio Aguero's healthy selfishness helped inspire Gabriel Jesus back to form, but the Brazil striker will still "tease" his Manchester City team-mate if the Selecao oust Argentina from the Copa America.

Jesus and host nation Brazil face their fierce rivals in a blockbuster semi-final in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday.

Tite's side needed penalties to scrape past Paraguay in the quarter-finals, with a rejuvenated Jesus, who made his second start of the tournament, converting the winner.

It was a moment of relief after a tough season at club level that yielded only seven Premier League goals, but three goals in two games for Brazil marked a change in fortunes and the 22-year-old credits Aguero's example for playing a part in his improvement.

"I had a difficult time at City at the beginning of last season. I wasn't well and I didn't play much, but my family and the people who surround me helped me a lot, I sought a physical trainer to help me and he is with me today," Jesus said.

"I have tried to have more shots because there were games where I didn't have any shots on goal which complicated things a little.

"Being with Manchester City and the national team has changed that and it is one of the main areas I have improved on. 

"I see other attackers like Aguero having a lot of efforts at goal and this makes things easier.

"I have learned a lot from him. But now he is on one side and I'm on another."

As he prepares to face another City team-mate, Nicolas Otamendi, in what could be a head-to-head battle, Jesus knows there is plenty at stake.

"These are two giant teams, two countries with great history in football," the former Palmeiras player said.

"As we are the home side and are in better form, there is more pressure on us than Argentina, but it is always a classic. 

"I didn't make a bet with [Aguero], he defends his team and I defend mine. But when I return [to City], I hope to tease him and Otamendi too."