Jesus: I left City after Guardiola made me cry

Gabriel Jesus said he decided to leave Manchester City when coach Pep Guardiola made him cry after leaving him out of the starting lineup in a Champions League game.

The Brazil international worked under Guardiola for five years at the Etihad stadium 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 their home game against Paris Saint-Germain in November 2021 when he was named on the bench.

“There was a Champions League game, PSG, at home, in which he put [Oleksandr] Zinchenko as a false 9. Crazy thing,” Jesus said. “The day before, he didn’t even use [Zinchenko] in training, he had put me in as a striker. … Zinchenko even joked with me: ‘that day I felt bad for you.’

“Two hours before the game, there’s a team talk, the team eats, rests for 30 minutes and goes to the game. He told us the team, I didn’t even eat. I went straight to the room, crying, I called my mother to talk: ‘I want to leave.’ I’m going home, because he put [Zinchenko] on, and he didn’t put me on. He put a left-back there. I went crazy.”

Jesus replaced Zinchenko in the second half and set up the equaliser before scoring a late winner to give City a 2-1 win.

“I didn’t warm up,” Jesus added. “I felt bad. Five minutes after [Kylian] Mbappe scored the goal for 1-0, [Guardiola] called me. I gave an assist and scored; we turned it around 2-1. In the next [Champions League] game [a 2-1 win at RB Leipzig], I thought I was going to play, and I didn’t play.

“There was a lot of that with him [Guardiola], and it’s not easy. But one [player] evolves. It is really hard. That’s when I decided, I didn’t want to stay anymore. And I decided to leave.”

Jesus joined City in January 2017 from Palmeiras and won 11 titles with the Manchester club.

During his debut campaign at Arsenal, he scored 11 goals and set up seven more in 26 league appearances as they finished runners-up to City in the Premier League.

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