Gabriel Jesus left Manchester City due to Guardiola's 'madness'
Five years after leaving Manchester City, Gabriel Jesus joined Arsenal in the summer of 2022 amid the transfer season. Transfers from one club to another are not uncommon and can happen for various reasons such as financial benefits, inability to negotiate with the current club, performance decline, desire for winning trophies, lack of sufficient playing time, and other factors affecting players' decisions. After remaining silent for so long, Jesus has now explained the reasons behind his transfer.
Jesus' transfer was primarily influenced by a decision made by City coach Pep Guardiola, known as the "crazy decision." Guardiola had made this decision against PSG in the Champions League match in November 2021. Although Jesus had performed well as the team's main striker in that match, City coach Alexander Zinchenko did not play him in the subsequent matches. Jesus was excluded from the starting lineup from that point onwards. He disagreed with the coach's decision and consequently decided to leave the club.
Reflecting on the events of that day, Jesus stated, "It was the Champions League match against PSG at home. Where he (Guardiola) played Zinchenko instead of me as a striker. What nonsense! Not only did he not use me in the previous game, but he also played me as a striker. Jinchenko had fun playing with me. He said, 'Yesterday you had a bad day.'"
Jesus did not stop there. He continued, "Those were the incidents before the match started. The team would have dinner, take a 30-minute break, and then go to the field for the match. At that time, he told us this. I couldn't eat anymore. I went straight to the locker room and cried. I called my mother and said, 'I want to leave the club. I want to go home. Because he is playing Zinchenko, not me. He is playing a left-back there.' It hurt my head."
After Guardiola's decision, Jesus didn't even warm up that day. However, when the team faced a crisis, he was rightfully called upon. In the 50th minute of the second half, Kilian Mbappe scored, putting City behind at 2-1. Just three minutes later, Guardiola sent Jesus onto the field. The Brazilian contributed with a goal and an assist, leading the team to victory.
In Jesus' own words, he explained, "I made an assist and scored a goal that day. I changed the course of the match to 2-1. As a result, I thought I would be kept for the next match in the Champions League (against Leipzig). But I didn't play in that match. A lot has happened with Guardiola. It wasn't easy. It was a difficult situation. That's why I made the decision to leave the club. I didn't want to stay there anymore." Interestingly, in the previous season, Jesus and Zinchenko had both left City to join Arsenal.
Guardiola's tactical madness is not something new. He had previously set up the team with an unconventional lineup, excluding a defensive midfielder, in the Champions League final against Chelsea. However, his gamble backfired, and City lost the trophy.