Monday, 20 February 2017

Gabriel Jesus' breathtaking ascent to the top – told by those who helped make it happen at Palmeiras

He faces a couple of months on the sidelines, but that won't stop Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian teenager has been on a mission since the start of his teens, cruising over every obstacle placed in his way with that trademark brand of serenity and flair.

After his lightning start to life at Manchester City – three goals and two assists in his first three starts – I got in contact with some of those who knew him best during his time at Palmeiras, where he blossomed from a coltish upstart into a genuine star.


I spoke to his former coach, Cuca, who told me why he's best played through the centre. Fernando Prass, the captain of the São Paulo outfit, recalled Gabriel practising his finishing after training until he could shoot with both feet. Matheus Sales and Agustín Allione shared their experiences of seeing the forward at close quarters.

You can have a read of what they all had to say in this piece for The Independent.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Brazil swoons over Gabriel Jesus, the thoroughbred export making a mockery of country's "mongrel complex"

Anyone who has spent time in Brazil will probably have heard the phrase "complexo de vira-lata". It translates as "mongrel complex" and refers to a self-imposed feeling of national inferiority. "Brazilians are upside-down narcissists who spit on their own image," Rodrigues wrote.

One of the symptoms of the affliction – and we are of course generalising here – is that Brazil cares what others think. This can be seen in everyday language and, most significantly, in the media, where outlets frequently carry stories about how local events are being covered around the world.


The recent spate of violence in Brazilian prisons, for instance, hit the headlines around the world and those headlines were pumped back into the echo chamber. Stories about outrageously outmoded beauty contests and governmental corruption follow a similar pattern. Often, this is done with cringe implied; at the embarrassment Olympics, Brazil always sees itself as a medal contender.

Now and then, though, the mongrel complex is turned on its head by events that prompt a swell of pride. At which point, enter Gabriel Jesus: instant Premier League idol and Brazil's new leading export.

Read the rest of this piece on the Mirror website.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Ronaldinho's sugar-rush genius in 11 moments

This month's FourFourTwo magazine is a South American special, featuring interviews with Robinho, Arturo Vidal, Solomon Rondon and plenty more besides.

The cover star is Ronaldinho, who reflects on his career, talks about Brazil's emerging generation and swoons over Dele Alli.


To coincide with the issue, I picked out 11 of the most memorable moments of Ronaldinho's career, including that goal against England, his stunning toe poke at Stamford Bridge and – hopefully – a couple of stunning bits of skill that you've never seen before.

Have a read here.