Ronaldinho: Jesus can take over from Messi
Brazilian football icon Ronaldinho has tipped Gabriel Jesus to take over from Lionel Messi as the best player on the planet. Jesus is the latest product of Brazil that looks destined to be a superstar, following in the footsteps of players such as Pele, Zico, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Neymar and many more. At just 19 years old Gabriel Jesus has forced his way into the Manchester City starting eleven, and has forced Sergio Aguero out of the team in recent weeks. The youngster has lit up the Premier League with his energy, skill and dribbling abilities, but perhaps his desire and intensity is his biggest asset.
If anyone should be able to spot a future star of the sport then you would expect it to be ex-Barcelona, PSG and AC Milan star Ronaldinho. Ronaldinho was a huge influence on Lionel Messi during his early years with Barcelona, and the Argentine has always spoke of his admiration for Ronaldinho, who helped Messi nurture his obvious talent. At such an early stage of Messi’s career, Ronaldinho knew he was working with a future Ballon d’Or winner.
In recent years Ronaldinho touted Neymar to be a future star of the sport and has this week expressed his belief that Jesus could become the best footballer in the world. “Manchester City have a very special player with Gabriel Jesus. Maybe even, in the future, the best player in the world.“
Ronaldinho continues, “At the moment it is Messi. I have always said I think one day it will be Neymar. But at 19, in the future, it can be Gabriel. He has all the abilities to make that happen. I don’t always agree that players should always be eased in - it depends on the type of player. You look at Gabriel Jesus and he has no fear at all. He just wants to play and show what he can do. He will put in big performances against Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and all the other top teams in England.”
Having been named in Manchester City’s Champions League squad this season, there is a huge platform for Gabriel to make a name for himself. There will be critics who feel that it is a lot of pressure to put on such a young player but Ronaldinho does not agree. “I’m pleased he has been named in the Champions League squad and I think he should play, he is full of confidence. Ronaldo, Kaka, myself and, more recently, Neymar were playing at the highest level at a young age. Gabriel is in that category.”
That is some praise for the 19 year old who has only played a handful of games in the Premier League. Jesus made his debut for the Brazil national team in 2016 and has 6 international caps to his name. One thing is for sure, City will be hoping that Ronaldinho is not wrong and that Jesus can go onto be a phenomenon in the next 10 years.