Dani Alves has anointed Brazil team-mate Gabriel Jesus as “the new Ronaldo” ahead of Tuesday’s friendly against England at Wembley.
Manchester City striker Jesus scored his eighth international goal in last week’s 3-1 win over Japan and appears set to play a key role at Russia 2018.
The 20-year-old Palmeiras product has already netted seven goals in his first full Premier League campaign, enough to convince Alves of his claims as the heir to the former Real Madrid legend.
And the Paris Saint-Germain full-back, who will captain his country on Tuesday, is adamant Jesus will not be affected by the comparison.
‘I wasn’t joking when I called him the new Ronaldo. They have a similar drive,’ Alves said at Brazil’s pre-match press conference.
‘He’s already great and will get even better.
‘For all that he’s done, all that he’s achieved, there’s no pressure. He’s doing what he loves.’
Alves’ comments received support from Brazil boss Tite, who is hoping to build the Selecao around its young star.
‘Any player of Jesus’ level really needs a team behind him,’ the manager said.
‘An athlete of that level can only shine with the team and that’s what we’re hoping for here.
‘Manchester City should be very happy with Palmeiras, who formed an athlete who was already prepared. He had a natural fluency when he arrived [in England],’ he concluded.
Brazil are expected to field a full-strength team against Gareth Southgate’s side, with Philippe Coutinho tipped start despite sitting out Liverpool’s last three matches.
-This story oroginally appeared on FourFourTwo.co.za