Jesus played football in prison, compared to Ronaldo and is now firing for Arsenal

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Gabriel Jesus has given Arsenal fans huge cause for optimism since his arrival from Man City.

It may only have been pre-season, which counts for absolutely nothing, but that has not stopped supporters getting a little bit carried away ahead of the start of the new Premier League campaign.

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Jesus can’t stop scoring in pre-season for Arsenal

They kick-off the 2022/23 season with a trip to Selhurst Park on Friday to take on Crystal Palace, live on talkSPORT, who just so happen to be managed by Gunners legend Patrick Vieira.

Mikel Arteta has been busy in the transfer market landng Fabio Vieira, Oleksandr Zinchenko and the making marquee addition of Jesus for £45million.

It was a position Arsenal were desperate to reinforce after Alexandre Lacazette’s departure, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leaving in January.

A real goalscoring threat through the middle is what they have missed and the hope, and expectation, is that Jesus can provide that.

He has been showing just how deadly he can be in pre-season. He managed to score seven times in their five matches, culminating with a hat-trick against Sevilla in a 6-0 thrashing on Saturday.

There is a huge expectation on Jesus’ shoulders, but being a Brazilian striker he is used to that by now.


Ronaldo is regarded as one of football’s greatest-ever strikers – and is a fan of Jesus

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Ronaldo is regarded as one of football’s greatest-ever strikers – and is a fan of Jesus

Ronaldo is a big fan and even made comparisons between himself and the striker before Man City swooped to sign him from Palmeiras.

Ronaldo told Globo TV: “I’m a fan of Gabriel as I look at him and see myself when I was younger.

“I see many similarities between us.”

Lofty praise from someone who is an undisputed icon in Brazil, delivered two World Cup for his country, and has the second most goals in World Cup history with 15.

With Qatar 2022 on the horizon this winter, a move away from Man City made sense following their signing of Erling Haaland.

Jesus will have a point to prove at the upcoming World Cup, having failed to find the net in 2018. A record that has weighed heavily on him as he plays for a nation that expects success.

Jesus is a four-time Premier League champion

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Jesus is a four-time Premier League champion

He told Globo TV: “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.”

Success with the national team is something he will desperately crave, having grown up dreaming of becoming a professional footballer for Brazil.

He played football on the streets of of Jardim Peri, a favela on the northern edge of Sao Paulo where crime is rife.

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There is a mural to Jesus in his old neighbourhood in Brazil

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There is a mural to Jesus in his old neighbourhood in Brazil

For many kids in Brazil, football is life and he revealed the extraordinary lengths he went to in order to play.

“The pitch was inside Romao Gomes prison but it belonged to the police and it wasn’t far from the bad guys,” he told FourFourTwo in 2017.

“Only the policemen used to play there. I’ve never felt afraid of anything there. Well, I used to get there very early in the morning.

“Several times I left home around 5 or 6am.”

Even though he is a huge superstar now, he has not forgotten his humble beginnings. He and Brazil teammate Neymar got matching tattoos of a boy in the favelas dreaming of becoming a footballer.

Jesus and Neymar have matching tattoos

@neymarjr

Jesus and Neymar have matching tattoos

His old neighbourhood have not forgotten him either, with a huge 100ft mural to the striker decorating the side of homes next to a football pitch.

Jesus’ story is one pretty much every kid in Brazil will aspire to, going from kicking the ball around on the street to signing for one of the top teams in the country – Palmeiras.

He then moved to Man City to work with one of the best coaches in world football in Pep Guardiola, and won four Premier League titles.

Jesus had success at Palmeiras before joining City

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Jesus had success at Palmeiras before joining City

The striker also won a gold medal with Brazil in 2016 and already has 56 caps for his country, despite still being just 25.

Now Arsenal will hope he can continue that success at his new club and the signs are bright from pre-season.

Rangers legend Ally McCoist admitted he can understand why Gunners fans are optimistic ahead of the new campaign.

He told talkSPORT: “I’ve got to say, I quite like the signings. I really do. Zinchenko is another one who really impressed.

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Zinchenko and Jesus have both joined from City this summer

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Zinchenko and Jesus have both joined from City this summer

“Jesus, I know it’s only pre-season, but if you are a goalscorer you want to feel the ball hit the back of the net as quickly as possible and that’s been the case.

“It looks as though he’s settled in and they are reasonably strong defensively. You can understand the optimism from Arsenal supporters.”

But now pre-season is over he’ll have to hit the ground running to impress a notoriously hard to please fanbase.

The Premier League is back and talkSPORT has it covered, with games on Friday, Saturday and Monday, beginning with Crystal Palace vs Arsenal on 5 August

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