Gabriel Jesus said he decided to leave Manchester City when manager Pep Guardiola made him cry after knocking him out of the starting XI in a Champions League game.
The Brazil international worked under Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium for five years before joining Arsenal last summer, a move he said made him feel “free”.
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Speaking to the Denilson Show podcast, Jesus said the turning point in his City career came during the home game against Paris Saint-Germain in November 2021 when he was benched.
“There was a Champions League game, PSG, at home that he was stuck in [Oleksandr] Zinchenko as a false 9. Crazy thing,” Jesus said. “He didn’t even use it the day before.” [Zinchenko] He used me as a striker in training. … Zinchenko even joked with me: “I felt sorry for you that day.”
“Two hours before the game there is a team meeting, the team eats, rests for 30 minutes and goes to the game. He told us the crew I didn’t even eat. I went straight into the room, cried, I called.” My mother talks, “I want to go.” I’m going home because he did [Zinchenko] on, and he didn’t dress me. He hired a left-back there. I’m freaking out.”
Jesus replaced Zinchenko in the second half and set up the equalizer before scoring the late winner to give City a 2-1 win.
“I didn’t warm up,” Jesus added. “I was feeling bad. Five minutes later.” [Kylian] Mbappe scored the goal to make it 1-0 [Guardiola] called me. I gave an assist and scored a goal; We turned the game to 2-1. In the next [Champions League] Game [a 2-1 win at RB Leipzig]I thought I was going to play but I didn’t play.
“There was a lot of that with him [Guardiola], and it’s not easy. But one [player] develops. It’s really hard. That’s when I decided I didn’t want to stay anymore. And I decided to go.
Jesus joined City from Palmeiras in January 2017 and has won 11 trophies with the Manchester club.
During his debut season at Arsenal, he scored 11 goals and assisted seven more in 26 league games as Arsenal finished second to City in the Premier League.