Gabriel Jesus: "My goal? For City to have a great season, lift a trophy... and then win the World Cup"
The 20-year-old has made a sensational start to life in the Premier League since arriving from Palmeiras in January, hitting 13 goals in just 19 league outings for Manchester City.
Having already picked up a Brasileirao Serie A Player of the Year award and Olympic gold medal in his fledgling career, talk has now turned to the Seleção striker winning the Ballon d’Or if he can inspire Pep Guardiola’s men to a first Champions League crown.
I need to really work hard and improve a lot. Hopefully in the future I can be among the best players in the world, but there's a long way to go
Although he isn’t expecting to scoop the game’s top individual gong anytime soon, Jesus is hopeful he'll progress to the point where he rivals the very best.
Speaking exclusively in the December 2017 issue of FourFourTwo, he says: “Barcelona and Real Madrid have the two best players in the world, but in terms of attacking options I think City can be compared to any team because we have got top-quality players.
“I need to work really hard and improve a lot, and that’s what I’ll do. Hopefully in the future I can be among the best players in the world, but there is a long way to go.
“There are currently several players who deserve the honour. For me, I see it as something far away. For now, I just want to win matches, titles and be happy.”
His three goals at the 2016 Olympics helped Brazil bag a first ever gold medal at the Games, and six goals in just 11 games for the senior side have got tongues wagging that Jesus is the heir to Ronaldo – the second-highest goalscorer in World Cup history.
Hopes are high that a Jesus-Neymar frontline can fire the Seleção to glory at Russia 2018 and avenge the 7-1 semi-final humiliation against Germany three years ago.
For Jesus, who painted Sao Paulo's streets to celebrate hosting the 2014 tournament in his homeland, the target isn’t just to feature at a World Cup but go all the way in it.
I want City to have a great season and the only way that'll be possible is by winning titles. That’s my goal. Hopefully we’ll lift a trophy. I have a dream that goes beyond just playing at the World Cup – I want to win it
“For the past three World Cups I have painted the streets to celebrate the competition – it’s almost an obligation for the community,” the youngster says. “Hopefully I will get the chance to play at the World Cup next summer to repay all the joy it brought me.
“But there’s still a full season to be played before the World Cup. I need to earn a place in Russia and I’m working hard to get it. I want City to have a great season and the only way that will be possible is by winning titles. That’s my goal. Hopefully we will lift a trophy. I have a dream that goes beyond just playing at the 2018 World Cup – I want to win it.”
Read the full interview with Gabriel Jesus in the December 2017 issue of FourFourTwo magazine – a strikers special in which we also interview Alvaro Morata and count down the 30 greatest Premier League forwards ever. Also this month, we meet the father and son working wonders at Harrogate Town, go One-on-One with Dani Alves, find out if 3G pitches are the future of the Football League, and hear about the turmoil Tony Adams went through before, during and after Euro 96. Order a copy now, and then subscribe!