Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus will be the best player in the world within three years, according to his former coach.
Jose Francisco Mamede — the coach at Jesus’ first club, Pequeninos do Meio Ambiente — said the Brazilian forward will win the Ballon d’Or award by 2019.
Jesus, 19, signed a five-year deal with City in the summer and will join up with the club in January after remaining with Palmeiras on loan and helping them to win the Brazilian championship.
Mamede expects the Brazil international to acclimatise quickly to life in the Premier League and says he has the mentality to become the very best.
“Gabriel came from a very poor neighbourhood and that’s why he’s not afraid,” the 58-year-old told AFP. “He will adapt to the food, to the cold in Manchester and everything else. In three years he’ll win the Ballon d’Or, because Messi will already be getting a bit old.”
City boss Pep Guardiola has high hopes for Jesus after a making a personal phone call to him in the summer to convince him to move to Manchester.
The forward has scored five goals from six games for Brazil this year as well as winning gold at the Rio Olympics, and Mamede said that Jesus was always destined to be a huge success.
“From the very first training session, we saw he was different,” he added. “He never lacked anything. “He’d be the first to do the exercises. He was always determined to be a professional.”