By Thomas Reynolds
Last Updated: 13th June 2018
The Selecao announced their squad numbers for the upcoming tournament today and Jesus was given the number nine shirt, in a timely hint that he’s an attractive price to win the Golden Boot.
Now, this latest development suggests he’ll be starting centre-forward for the pre-World Cup favourites, but the case for backing the son of Sao Paulo goes much deeper than that.
Jesus’ World Cup top scorer odds? What about Neymar’s?!
Yes, yes, “what about Neymar,” you’re thinking, “he’ll want to take all the penalties and free kicks in training, let alone the matches, how’s our lad Gabriel going to compete?”
The Paris Saint-Germain star is 9/1 joint-favourite in the World Cup top scorer odds with Lionel Messi, but Jesus outscored his countryman by seven goals to six in CONMEBOL qualifying.
Not only did he outgun him, but he did so with far less playing time.
Jesus notched his seven qualifying strikes (equal to Messi, Alexis Sanchez and Felipe Caicedo) in 677 minutes, whereas it took Neymar 1144 minutes notch one less qualifying goal.
Even if the PSG man’s three goalless outings before the doomed Dunga was replaced in the dugout by Tite are chalked off, he still required 197 minutes more to amass his total.
It’s important to note that the lower amount of game-time afforded Jesus was largely down to injury too, rather than any misgivings about the striker from current manager Tite, who started him in his first match in charge.
But Uruguay and France have far easier groups!
True, those who fancy Edinson Cavani or Luis Suarez (both 20/1 for the Golden Boot) to score heavily against Russia, Saudi Arabia and Egypt or Antoine Griezmann (10/1), who will face Australia, Peru and Denmark in Group C, have a case that their selections will have an easier start at the tournament.
But 21-year-old Jesus’ latest Brazil goal was the recent friendly winner away to world champions Germany, suggesting that although there are easier-looking World Cup groups than the one Brazil share with Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia, he should still find a way to score.