Palmeiras veteran Ze Roberto claims Real Madrid would be the best destination for Gabriel Jesus if his teenage teammate were to move on this summer.
Gabriel Jesus has predominantly been linked with Barcelona since the end of last season, among other super clubs in Europe, but Ze Roberto – who is still playing top-level football in Brazil with Palmeiras at the ripe old age of 42 – believes Madrid would serve the attacking starlet better.
“He’s the best player I've seen come out of Brazil since I returned from Germany in 2006,” the ex-Selecao man, who played for Los Blancos in the 1997-98 season, told AS.
“I’ve seen many, but Gabriel [Jesus] is different. In addition to the spectacular talent and ease that he scores goals with, I haven’t seen anyone more focused on football than him.
“That’s the rarest thing to see in a lad coming through. You mustn’t let [the hype] go to your head, and Gabriel Jesus isn’t dazzled by the fame. He’s kept focused on his objectives.
“[On comparisons with Neymar], Neymar isn’t from this planet, he’s an alien. You can’t make any comparisons because it’s not fair.
“[Gabriel Jesus] is a modern footballer. He has strength, speed, technique and explosiveness, but I find it very difficult to compare him to another player because he has unique characteristics.
“He can play equally well in any attacking position, right, left or through the middle. He draws attention with his versatility and ability to help out in defence.
“I think [Gabriel Jesus is ready for Europe], despite the young age. Going to Europe would be essential for him to follow his growth as a player of the highest level.
“I see him psychologically prepared for the challenge, with enough maturity. Of course, when a player is young and joins a big club in Europe, who already have their own style of play, he needs a period of adjustment.
“But it’s important that he joins a club that have top players who can help him keep growing as a player. But he’s prepared, technically and mentally.
“I know there’s interest from Bayern, Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid. It’s difficult to choose between them because they’re all giants.
“I think at this point, Real Madrid would be the best option because of how [Zinedine] Zidane plays, with three forwards.
“Gabriel can play any of the three positions in the ‘BBC’. For me, [Madrid] are the ideal club for Gabriel Jesus because he could learn from three top players in [Gareth] Bale, Cristiano [Ronaldo] and [Karim] Benzema.
“Plus, Zidane gave opportunities to young players last season, I think it would be ideal for him to get the minutes he needs to grow.
“I don’t know [if he’ll leave this summer]. I think it’ll be difficult because Palmeiras don’t need to sell and he’s very focused on winning the Brasileirao and being top goalscorer in the competition.
“His attention isn’t on the foreign interest, instead it’s on training and winning another title with Palmeiras.
“The only way that I see him leaving before the end of the year is if [a team] pay his clause [€25-€30m].”