Brazil legend Ronaldo gave a passionate defense of Arsenal striker Gabriel Jesus after criticism in his homeland.
The Gunners striker will sit out the World Cup again after a tournament-ending knee injury in the 1-0 loss to Cameroon.
Jesus underwent surgery on Tuesday and, while Arsenal refused to set a deadline for his recovery, the 25-year-old is expected to be out for at least three months.
It’s a blow for club and country, but Jesus is much more popular in North London than he is in Brazil at the moment.
Tottenham striker Richarlison was first choice for Tite’s side in Qatar and many have questioned Jesus amid a barren 14-game scoreless streak dating back to October 1.
However, arguably the most famous No.9 in football history has come to the defense of Jesus.
In a pep talk to the Arsenal star, Brazilian icon Ronaldo urged him to block the haters and remember how far he’s come.
O Fenomeno wrote on Instagram: “Criticism can be constructive or destructive in one’s life. Words have the power to uplift and tear down.
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“Sometimes the same people who stimulate one discourage the other. Therefore, it is important to be careful what we say. But above all what we listen to.
“We cannot control what others will say and we will live in dark times of normalization of hate speech. But we can filter what enters our ears. Let your image of yourself, Gabriel Jesus, not be based on what others say.
“May you never forget where you came from because the boy who dreamed of being a player did not follow an easy path full of opportunities and privileges.
“The boy did the impossible. The extraordinary ‘impossible’. He left the Peri garden to conquer the world. He won several titles, champion of the Copa America and was decisive in the first achievement of the Tite era. Olympic champion, fundamental in the gold of Brazil.
“He is the Brazilian with the highest goal average in Premier League history. While many insist on comparing trajectories to disqualify an athlete, I am here today to remind you that your story is unique .
“You came to the national team with great merit and I hope you always shine with your football. May you overcome what must be overcome, may you face what must be faced, may you continue to believe in your dreams because they are what brought you here. Get well quickly!”
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