'Jesus is an example for me' - Man City-linked NXGN star Veron keen to follow in Brazil striker's footsteps

Gabriel Veron Gabriel Jesus GFXGetty/Goal

Palmeiras teenage star Gabriel Veron wants to follow in the footsteps of Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus as he plots his own path to the top of the game.

Jesus left Palmeiras at the age of 19 in January 2017, joining City in a deal worth a reported £27 million ($36m), and has gone onto become one of the Premier League's best young forwards.

And Veron, who placed 12th on Goal's 2021 NXGN list of the 50 best teenage footballers on the planet, is using the Brazil international's rise as inspiration for his own career.

What was said?

"Gabriel Jesus - I use him as an example," Veron told Goal in an exclusive interview. "He is an excellent player who is always working to reach the top.

"He is an example to me, for my career. I hope I can follow in his footsteps."

Veron has been linked with a move to City, while Manchester United, Barcelona and Arsenal have also been credited with showing interest in the 18-year-old.

And the winger has been keeping a keen eye across Europe's top leagues as he considers his potential next move.

Gabriel Veron Palmeiras 2020Getty Images

"I watch the Premier League," he said. "It's a very difficult tournament, where every game is difficult, and I like to watch games like these.

"I watch La Liga and Serie A as well. I like to watch everything."

Gabriel Veron: The story so far

Veron first came to international prominence when leading Brazil to glory on home soil at the 2019 Under-17 World Cup.

He scored three goals and laid on two assists in the competition, before being awarded the Golden Ball as the player of the tournament.

From there he broke into the Palmeiras first team, and in 2020 had a year to remember as, despite suffering from persistent injury problems, he contributed nine goals and four assists as the Sao Paulo outfit won both the Copa Libertadores and the Copa do Brasil.

"There're lots of people who may think this was a season to forget for me because I went through many injuries," he said, "but I consider this season as one of knowledge and adaptation.

"I had lots of injuries, but I was always with the squad, working and healing to try and recover as fast as possible so I could be playing on the pitch again.

"Even without being able to play as many games as I would have liked, we made history for the club. It was an historic season.

"Thinking about this new season my expectations could not be higher. I want to escape from the injuries I've had in 2020 and for us to have a great season."

In terms of his most memorable moment, he said: "I think it was my Libertadores debut. I will always remember it because it was a tournament that I always watched on TV.

"So playing (in that competition) with a Palmeiras shirt, the club which gave me my opportunity - I was very happy with that."

Is Gabriel Veron related to Juan Sebastian Veron?

Though Veron shares a name with Argentina legend Juan Sebastian Veron, they are not related, though they do have a connection.

When the young Brazilian was born in 2002, his parents could not decide on a second name for their son, only for a neighbour to offer the suggestion of 'Veron'.

The neighbour was a huge fan of the ex-Manchester United midfielder, but having fathered three daughters he had not wanted to give any of them the name of his footballing hero.

Veron's parents were not aware of the footballing connection at first, but the teenage star has since headed to YouTube in a bid to learn more about the man he was unintentionally named after.

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