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Gabriel Jesus: “We have to try to impose our football, our rhythm”

Manchester City v Watford - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus spoke to MARCA in the build-up to the game vs Real Madrid tomorrow in the first leg of the semi-finals of the Champions League. Jesus, who is very much in form and is coming off of a hat-trick on the weekend, spoke about his career, childhood, and more. We’ve included the Real Madrid related quotes below.

On the upcoming matchup vs Real Madrid

“When you talk about big clubs like Real Madrid, it’s obvious that they always impose a lot on you. We have to impose our rhythm, our football, but knowing that on the other side we have another team that you see what they did in the round of 16 against PSG, then against Chelsea and... You see the greatness of the club, the maturity of the players, who have a lot of experience, who are used to living in this competition. It is also difficult to play against Atlético, Sporting... The Champions League. There is a bit of nervousness. We will try to give our best, respect the history of Real Madrid and its players, but we have to try to impose our football, our rhythm, to try to win.”

On his role against Real Madrid in 2020, and how he helped force Sergio Ramos into a red card

“It was very difficult and tense, as always when you play at the Bernabéu against Real Madrid. We won, but they could have done it. It made me happy to help my team, but now it will be different, with other players. Vinicius is playing. He was already playing then but now he is more mature. He is the same player, but now he is more mature. I’m a big fan of him, I hope he can shine more and more in the future. I encourage him to do so, although not against me [laughs].”

On some of the criticism Vinicius Jr has receivd

“It’s difficult because you arrive young at a big club, the size of Real Madrid, you play, you have opportunities and it ends up not going well due to a lack of experience, of maturity. Criticisms come and go. I am happy for him, for the quality he has. Everyone knew that it was so. Football is like that, with ups and downs. I encourage him to stay at that top of talent so he can be happy in football.”

On how much he talks to Casemiro, Vinicius, Militao, Marcelo

“I have an excellent relationship with everyone. I support you all. We Brazilians are like that, except when we are going to play against each other, which is different and each one has to defend their own. I like them very much. I don’t have as much contact with Marcelo because the last thing was in the National Team. With the others yes because they are in Brazil and we meet there.

“The last thing message was from Vinicius and Casemiro for my birthday, at the beginning of this month.”

On nerves, tactics, and the Bernabeu atmosphere

“I think we are all more nervous: the players, the coach, the staff, the club itself. Not only City, Real Madrid too. It is a Champions League semi-final. It’s the same with the final or the quarters. It is normal. I think so, but like some players.

“With a match with the grandeur of the Champions League semi-final, against a great European club like Real Madrid, the biggest champion in the competition, the only tactic is to have the personality to play.

“Real Madrid is not ‘defendable’. Real Madrid, not only the club but almost all the players, has a lot of experience in the Champions League qualifiers. And that’s important, of course. But we have also been growing, last year we reached the final and unfortunately we lost it, but we got there.

“The Bernabeu is an environment that they are used to living: that decisive moment, that experience in a tie with players who are also used to it... It is normal that things go their way, for that club. The more experience a club has in a competition, the better it will be. We’re going to play the first game at home and we have to set our own pace because I’m sure that there, like here, it’s going to be difficult, and that’s where they have their magic.”