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Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus certainly hasn’t had the ideal World Cup tournament. First he received some criticism from fans – mostly Flamengo fans who wanted Gabriel Barbosa called up – before suffering an injury in his first start and requiring surgery.
Whilst Brazil march on, Jesus’ World Cup campaign is over. He’s back at Arsenal recovering from his successful knee surgery, likely feeling disheartened by the whole experience.
So it was encouraging to see Brazilian hero Ronaldo sending a message of support to Jesus on social media on Wednesday, full of praise for the 25-year-old striker.
“Criticism can either be constructive or destructive in one’s life,” Ronaldo began. “Words have the power to lift up and tear down—sometimes the same ones that boost one discourage another.
“Therefore, it is important to be careful what we say, but – above all – what we listen to. Because we can’t control what others will say—and we live in dark times of normalization of hate speech—but we can filter what comes in our ears.
“Let your self-image, [Gabriel Jesus], not be based on what others say. May you never forget where you came from because that boy who had the dream of being a player didn’t take an easy path, full of opportunities and privileges.
“That boy did the impossible, the “impossible”, the extraordinary. He left the Jardim Peri to conquer the world.
“He won several titles, he was a goalscorer, Copa America champion (decisive in the first achievement of the Tite era), an Olympic champion (fundamental in Brazil’s gold) – all this very young.
“He’s the Brazilian with the highest averaging goals in Premier League history.
“While many insist on comparing trajectories to disqualify an athlete, I’m here today to remind you that your story is unique. You came to the National Team with a lot of merit and I hope you still shine bright with your football.
“May you overcome what needs to be overcome, may you face what needs to be faced, may you continue to believe in your dreams because they are the ones who brought you here.
“Get well soon, craque!”
You’d imagine this message is exactly what Jesus needed to hear at this difficult moment. He’s already achieved so much, and he has so much time ahead of him to do more, but he likely needed a reminder of that from someone he respects and looks up to.
Ronaldo clearly believes in the Arsenal man, and that’s got to mean a lot to any player who grew up in the era of Brazil’s 2002 World Cup win.
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