Jesé Rodríguez made his debut in Brazil with Coritiba, and it was a debut that saw him score a goal, but also stir some controversy. The Spanish footballer, now aged 30, took the field after a four-month hiatus, but his debut was marred by a 5-1 loss to Vasco da Gama in the Brasileirao.
Coming on as a substitute in the 58th minute, Jesé joined forces with Algerian striker Islam Slimani in the attack. However, it was his choice of jersey number that garnered attention. The number 11, which Jesé proudly wore, had previously been claimed by his teammate Alef Manga.
Before the match, Jesé had flaunted the number 11 on his Instagram account, prompting Alef Manga to voice his claim, stating, “It has a name now, mine.” Alef Manga, who is under contract with Coritiba until 2025, had been loaned to Pafos in Greece on July 29 following his involvement in a betting case.
Jesé’s debut in Brazil not only marked his return to professional football but also set the stage for an intriguing jersey number dispute. The former Real Madrid youth player has never been able to live up to expectations following a serious ACL injury in the 2013-14 season. Since then, he has played for Las Palmas, Stoke City, PSG, Betis, Sporting de Portugal, Ankaragucu, Sampdoria, and now Coritiba. It has been a roller coaster career with newsworthy and controversial events throughout.