Gabriel Jesus has admitted to learning all he can from Manchester City team-mate Sergio Aguero in his bid to become Brazil’s best striker.
In the absence of the injured Neymar, Jesus is among those expected to fill the void left by the Paris St Germain star.
The 22-year-old failed to find the mark in Friday’s 1-0 friendly defeat to arch-rivals Argentina in Saudi Arabia, with Lionel Messi scoring the only goal from the penalty spot, but will be looking to make amends on Tuesday when Brazil take on South Korea at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
With 18 goals in 38 appearances for his country, Jesus knows he has a long way to go to challenge Neymar’s feat of 61 goals in 101 matches to date, but with the help of Aguero, he is aiming high.
“Of course, for me, the dream is to follow what he (Neymar) has achieved,” said Jesus on the Sport 360 website.
“To do that, getting 100 caps, scoring the most goals… But I know I have to work hard in every game, every training session for City, for Brazil, and I know I have to score goals.
“I am also learning at City to do this, working with Sergio. He’s a top, top player, the record scorer for the club and I can only learn from him. He scores almost every game.
“I am only 22 and I know I need to improve more, but that’s what I want to do.”
Despite his age, Jesus is mature enough to recognise the responsibility of scoring goals in Neymar’s absence cannot rest solely on his shoulders.
“Without Neymar for Brazil, you have to look at everyone to step up, not just me,” he added. “And Brazil have a lot of big players, not just Neymar.
“He is number one for Brazil, of course, but we have a lot of big players in the world and we can play well, even if he is not with us.”
The game is the sixth international meeting between the sides, and the first in six years, with Brazil leading the head-to-head record with four wins to South Korea’s one.
South Korea head into the game having yet to concede a goal in their four group matches in the second round of Asian qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, although they have been held to goalless draws in their last two games, against North Korea last month and Lebanon last Thursday.
While appreciating the game with Brazil is only a friendly, captain Son Heung-min recognises it is an opportunity for his side to at least end the international year on a high.
Speaking at a press conference, the Tottenham midfielder said: “I’m so excited to play a friendly game here (in Abu Dhabi) against Brazil. I can’t wait to play.
“Brazil are obviously a top, top team in international football. I remember playing against them in 2013 before the World Cup, and to play against them again is a real honour.
“We played against Lebanon a few days ago, and it was not a perfect result for us. Now a friendly game against a big team like Brazil is a big test for us, good practice.
“Of course, we will try to win this game, playing at our top level..”
South Korea coach Paulo Bento is expected to field a near full-strength line-up, while Brazil boss Tite may use the fixture as an opportunity to give other players in his squad who did not figure prominently against Argentina a run out, such as Liverpool’s Fabinho, Everton’s Richarlison and Douglas Luiz of Aston Villa.
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