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Dani Alves has dubbed Brazil team-mate Gabriel Jesus “the new Ronaldo” and believes the striker is set to “get even better.”
Alves, talking about Brazil legend Ronaldo as opposed to current world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo, was full of praise for Jesus when he spoke at a press conference ahead of their friendly clash with England, per sports reporter Ian Abrahams:
Ian Abrahams (Moose) @BroadcastMoose
So top line from the press conference “I said this before and I will say it again, Gabriel Jesus has everything to become the new Ronaldo.” https://t.co/yQROmPhrl0
According to Sam Cunningham of the Daily Mail, he added: “For all that he’s done, all that he’s achieved, there’s no pressure. He’s doing what he loves. I wasn’t joking when I called him the new Ronaldo. They have a similar drive. He’s already great and will get even better.”
Jesus joined Manchester City in January, and he has already had an incredible impact at the Etihad Stadium, per Sky Sports Statto:
Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto
Gabriel Jesus @premierleague record: Appearances 20 Goals 14 Assists 5 Goal or assist every 65 mins (at time of goal) https://t.co/8iGicEaZwG
He has been similarly impressive for Brazil; since making his senior debut in September last year, the forward has struck eight times in 12 appearances.
Jesus is a real handful for defenders thanks to his pace and close control in tight spaces, and he has also impressed with his work off the ball and the way he presses opponents from the front.
As the Telegraph‘s James Ducker noted, he’s one of several City stars who, while not guaranteed a starting berth, would be highly coveted at any of the Sky Blues’ rivals:
James Ducker @TelegraphDucker
City have brought on Gabriel Jesus, Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva today. Players who would walk into every other side in the PL
Given the start he’s had, it’s easy to forget he’s just 20, the same age at which Ronaldo was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1996.
His legendary compatriot earned a place in the pantheon of all-time footballing greats after a phenomenal career in which he scored over 400 goals for club and country.
The two-time World Cup winner had the power to hold off defenders as he embarked on explosive, surging runs, and he had no shortage of skill, too. Along with his deadly finishing, he struck fear in the heart of defences like few others before or since.
Jesus has a long way to go before he can rival Ronaldo’s achievements or reach the kind of level he did, but he’s one of the brightest young talents in world football with an incredible future ahead of him.
Alves’ comment may be slightly premature, but it’s high praise indeed, particularly from someone who played with Ronaldo for five years.