Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 12 December 2019

Gabriel Jesus Q&A: Brazil striker on Man City, Mohamed Salah and facing South Korea in Abu Dhabi

The striker is likely to lead the line when the five-time world champions face South Korea at the Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium on Tuesday

Brazil striker Gabriel Jesus will most probably lead the line tonight against South Korea in Abu Dhabi. Before the match, the forward spoke about the Premier League title race, Manchester City’s Champions League bid, becoming his country’s all-time leading scorer, and his admiration for club teammate Riyad Mahrez and Liverpool rival Mohamed Salah.

There is a great fan base for Manchester City here in the UAE and their dream is for you to win the Champions League.

My dream is to win the Champions League, but it is hard. We tried very hard last season, but I think now we are playing well again in Europe and this season can be our season. We want to win as well but it’s not easy.

We think the Premier League title race is still open. Is the season done already?

I think its still early for me to say anything about this; the season has only just begun. Of course, [leaders Liverpool] are playing well, we know this, but we haven’t played like we know we can. We can play like we did last season and win the title again. It is not easy as this season is more difficult than last season.

Do you think you deserve to play more for City?

Sometimes it’s not easy to talk about who deserves to play. Sergio [Aguero] is top scorer of the club so it is not easy for me. I want to improve and want to help him and the club to score every game and win the title. I always respect the opinion of the manager. Whoever he picks, it’s the best decision for the team.

Eighteen goals already for Brazil - are your ambitions to be the all-time highest scorer in Brazi history?

It is very difficult. I know the players who have scored a lot and are still playing and will be here for a long time. I hope I can do it, but I know it’s hard. Of course I will try every day and every game to score for Brazil.

There are eight players from the Premier League in the current Brazil squad. What can you say about the Premier League and the increase in South Americans?

It is a difficult league. I can talk about the Premier League because I play there. For me it's one of the most difficult leagues in the world. I cannot talk about another league because I haven’t played there, but in my opinion the Premier League is the hardest for a forward. It’s very competitive. You find a lot of teams are dangerous at set-pieces so any game is hard.

Five games without a win for Brazil - how important is the match against Korea?

Of course we want to win every game, but we know that is difficult. Football is like this, its not easy. You think you’re going to win and then you don’t, but that’s why football is brilliant. I hope we can play well tomorrow and winning the game is the most important thing.

Is Son Heung-min Korea’s main threat? Stop him and you win the game?

I know Son, I have played a few times against him. He’s a good player, technically amazing and great at finishing. We don’t just have to stop him - every player is dangerous.

The people of the UAE are very interested in Salah and Mahrez – what are your thoughts on them?

Salah has showed his quality in the last two seasons, he has scored a lot. I don’t train with him, but I know he is quality. I do train with Riyad. He is one of the most technical players I have played with; his first touch is amazing. An amazing player that showed the world how good he is at Leicester [City] and is now playing well for us, scoring goals and making assists all the time.

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Messi in touchline exchange with Brazil coach Tite

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What do you know about last week’s touchline exchange between Tite and [Lionel] Messi?

I didn’t see it and after the game I didn’t see, I don’t what know Messi said to Tite. Brazil against Argentina is a big derby so emotions are always going to be running high.

What do you make of Thiago Silva’s comments about Messi?

Every captain wants to talk with the referee; sometimes it’s one, two or three players that try to do this. Sometimes football is like this.

Updated: November 19, 2019 12:05 PM

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