2017 22under22 Countdown – #3: Gabriel Jesus

Gabriel Jesus

“He is a player that can achieve everything he wants.”
– Neymar


Date of Birth: April 3, 1997 (20 years old)
Nationality: Brazilian
Position: Forward
Club Appearances: 52 (16 goals)
International Appearances: 6 (4 goals)
EIF Ability Rating: 72.5

*EiF Ability Rating is a representation of a combination of the player’s current ability and potential ability. It is determined by multiple rounds of voting, and then an addition of the scores given by each judge. The maximum score a player can have is 80.*


Coming in at #3 in EIF’s 2017 22Under22 countdown is Manchester City’s prodigious Brazilian striker, Gabriel Jesus. Less than one month after his 20th birthday, Jesus is already one of football’s most talked-about young players. Having made his debut for Palmeiras’ senior side in 2015, Jesus really made his mark during the 2016 Série A season when he finished as the best player in Brazil and led Palmeiras to the title. Gabriel’s magical season in 2016 led to a January move to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, where he quickly made his mark by scoring three goals in four appearances. Unfortunately for Jesus, however, his impeccable start to life in Manchester was hampered by a knee injury which kept him out until this past week’s Manchester Derby. Despite the setback, Gabriel Jesus is still the most promising talent to emerge out of Brazil since Neymar. The former Palmeiras wonderkid is the real deal and is going to be a top player for many years to come.

 

Gabriel Jesus first joined the Palmeiras academy when he was 16 years old and went on to score 54 goals in 48 matches in his first season. Such impressive performances in the youth ranks led to opportunities in the senior team, and Jesus made his professional debut for the Paulista side in 2015. Over the course of the rest of the season, he scored 7 goals in all competitions. It wasn’t until 2016, however, that Gabriel had his big break. The young phenom led Palmeiras to the Série A title with a number of incredible performances and also starred in Brazil’s Olympic gold medal winning side. It thus came as little surprise for Brazilians who had watched Gabriel Jesus play when Manchester City announced he would be joining them in January 2017 for a fee of around 33 million Euros. The question now is, can Gabriel Jesus fulfill his potential and go on to become one of the world’s best?


Strengths


Gabriel Jesus
Gabriel Jesus celebrating with Neymar and Philippe Coutinho (Photo: Getty Images)

Capping off Gabriel Jesus’ core strengths is his finishing ability. In addition to an impressive start at City and a terrific goal-scoring history at Palmeiras, Jesus is also scoring at an impressive rate for the Brazilian National Team, where he has become the starting striker and has scored four goals in six appearances. This tremendous goal-scoring history can largely be attributed to his finishing ability. Once he gets himself in the right places, Jesus is almost always able to keep a cool head and has the killer instinct that has characterized so many great strikers over the years. Gabriel Jesus might have just turned 20, but his variety of strengths make him a player well beyond his years.


Weaknesses


Gabriel Jesus
Gabriel Jesus was instrumental in Palmeiras’ title-winning season in 2016 (Photo: VBet News)

Although Jesus is a very complete player, especially for his age, it is important to highlight the shortcomings in his game that he will hope to address as he develops. His first weakness (and also the one most out of his control) is the physical aspect of his game. Despite having great pace and agility, Gabriel’s 5’9 stature and relatively small physique means that he rarely wins aerial duels. Additionally, in a league as physical as the Premier League, it will be imperative for Jesus to build up muscle in order to prevent being physically outmatched (as more than one foreign player has been in the Premier League). The second main weakness in Gabriel’s game is a lack of discipline. Jesus has only been sent off once in his career, but he receives far too many yellow cards for a player playing so high up the pitch. Although he is no Diego Costa, Gabriel Jesus often loses his cool and gets booked for silly reasons that could easily be avoided. While this is not something too serious, it is something he will certainly hope to iron out of his game under Pep’s tutelage.


With 18 players in our 22Under22 down and only 4 to go before yesterday, it seems that the top four players we will be featuring are truly on a different level from the rest when it comes to potential. Gianluigi Donnarumma, Gabriel Jesus and our top two players on the list all appear to have the sort of talent and ceiling that only comes around once in a blue moon. With the newcomer jitters now firmly a thing of the past (it seems he ever even noticed them), Gabriel Jesus looks set to take the Premier League and European football by the scruff of the neck next year. It might be early days, but Gabriel Jesus might just be the closest Brazil have come to finding a successor to Ronaldo Nazário de Lima. The future is bright.