Barefoot Painter to Football Superstar: The Incredible Journey of Gabriel Jesus

Gabriel Jesus painting 5 years ago for Brasil World Cup

Drawing against Switzerland might not have been the result that Brazil were hoping for but for Gabriel Jesus, it marked the fairy-tale ending in his rags to riches story. Aged 21, he made his World Cup debut in Russia yesterday and this must feel like worlds apart from his humble start in life.

Painting streets in Rio de Janeiro

Just four years ago, when his country was preparing to host the 2014 World Cup, he was employed to paint the streets in Rio de Janeiro and he shared pictures of this through his social media accounts last year. He is seen with a paintbrush in hand, wearing no shoes as he joins others to paint the streets in the country’s green and yellow colours.

Paving the way to a bright future

At the time, he was playing for Palmeiras U-17s and had no idea that he would be playing at the next World Cup. You can imagine that as he painted those pavements, he dreamt that he would follow in the footsteps of Brazilian legends Ronaldinho and Ronaldo one day. This is the dream for many children in Brazil but only a very small percentage ever see that dream come true. For Gabriel Jesus, the dream has become a reality. He helped Manchester City to win the Premier League trophy this season and earned himself the call up to the national team for the World Cup. All of this and he is still only 21 years old.

 

Jesus started ahead of Firmino for Brazil

He made the starting XI against Switzerland, ahead of Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino who is the more experienced of the two players and who also had a very strong season at his club. Firmino replaced Jesus after 79 minutes and looked a threat when he came on, so it could give the manager a bit of a selection headache for the next match against Costa Rica. Either way, Jesus has certainly come a long way in the last four years. The story would be even more magical if he were to finish his season off as a World Cup winner!

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