Did you know Gabriel Jesus came from painting the streets of Brazil to playing football on the largest stage in the world? Here is the uplifting story of the Arsenal star’s ascent!
Football is often seen as a way out for many people – especially in the streets of Brazil, where countless young aspiring players dream of breaking free of their limitations and attaining stardom on the professional stage.
Coming from the position he is now in – playing regularly for Premier League title contenders, Arsenal, and boasting 64 caps for the Brazilian national team – it may come as a shock that Gabriel Jesus came from such beginnings.
Gabriel Jesus was born a long way away from the life of luxury he and his family now enjoy, being born in the Jardim Peri neighbourhood of São Paolo.
Jesus grew up in difficult conditions, with his mother Vera looking after him and his two brothers on her own, providing the best she could from challenging circumstances.
A young Gabriel can be seen below, helping friends in his community paint the streets of Jardim Peri in the national colours of his homeland.
As a youngster, Gabriel Jesus played street football before moving on to amateur clubs around the area, with his last amateur side being Associação Atlética Anhanguera.
Gabriel Jesus: Moving up in the world
Clearly making an impression at amateur level, it wasn’t long before Gabriel Jesus was picked up by a professional side.
This opportunity came in the form of a youth contract with Palmeiras – signing for them on the 1st of July 2013, at the age of 16.
In his first season, Jesus became the top scorer for the club – netting 54 goals in 48 appearances.
This lead Palmeiras to offer him a 5-year deal with a substantial wage increase, and the following season he scored another 37 goals from just 22 matches for the club’s U17 squad.
A 17-year-old Gabriel Jesus was now garnering attention from other clubs all over the country, as his path towards stardom became ever clearer…
Jesus eventually made his first appearance at senior level for Palmeiras in March 2015, and between then and 2017, he netted a further 21 goals for them in his 67 appearances.
He also made his first appearances for Brazil’s U20 & U23’s squads during his time with Palmeiras – eventually making a first team appearance for his country in 2016.
He would go on to win the 2016 Olympics with Brazil’s U20’s squad, as well as a Copa America title with their first team in 2019.
Gabriel Jesus enters the Premier League…
As many fans of the English game will be aware, Gabriel Jesus’ impressive repertoire during his time at Palmeiras, along with his caps & honours for Brazil’s national squad, eventually put him on the radar of much larger teams.
On the 3rd of August 2016, Man City announced that they would be bringing Gabriel Jesus to the Premier League to join their squad until the end of Summer 2021.
His transfer was completed in January of 2017, and Gabriel spent 7 years with the Blue side of Manchester – netting 58 goals in 159 appearances under Pep Guardiola.
It was reported that City paid £27 million plus add-ons in order to bring Jesus to the Etihad.
During this time, Jesus helped the Citizens achieve 4 Premier League titles, 3 EFL Cup titles, an FA Cup, 2 FA Community Shields, and a runner-up trophy in the Champions League.
It is no surprise then, that his signing fee for joining Arsenal in the Summer of 2022, although undisclosed, was rumoured to be in excess of £45 million.
Gabriel Jesus, who came from humble beginnings on the streets of São Paolo, has so far made 56 appearances for the Gunners, scoring 18 times for them since his move from their Premier League rivals City.
We all love a rags to riches story, and Gabriel Jesus puts himself right up there – taking himself from the poverty of Jardim Peri to the World Cup, Champions League, Olympics, Premier League and so much more.