Footballers from South America always seem to have unique back stories – and 20-year-old Gabriel Jesus is no different, as he told FFT how he used to play football in a prison growing up.
“The pitch was inside Romao Gomes prison but it belonged to the police and it wasn’t far from the bad guys,” he explained. “Only the policemen used to play there. I’ve never felt afraid of anything there. Well, I used to get there very early in the morning. Several times I left home around 5 or 6am.”
Apart from having the dedication to get up at 5am to play football in a penitentiary, Jesus has also had the benefit of a mother who basically sounds like a second Pep Guardiola, filling her son’s head with perfectionist criticism.
“The thing she complains most is about offside,” he tells us with a laugh. “‘Come on Gabriel, look, don’t be offside… and do shoot on target!’”
Sage advice there, for sure. Find out more about the Brazilian ace - including the strangest thing he’s ever been asked to autograph – by pressing play on the above video: 4 Things You Didn't Know About Gabriel Jesus.
Also, keep an out for the upcoming FourFourTwo Films documentary – Gabriel Jesus: My Path to Greatness - coming soon.
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Alex Reid is a freelance journalist and the former digital features editor at FourFourTwo. He has also written for the Guardian, talkSPORT, Boxing News and Sport magazine. Like most Londoners, he is a lifelong supporter of Aberdeen FC. He is deceptively bad in the air for a big man. He has never been a cage fighter.