Roberto Carlos on Gabriel Jesus, Real Madrid and the Premier League

Roberto Carlos

Brazil legend Roberto Carlos says Gabriel Jesus can be a key player for Manchester City but insists the highly-rated 19-year-old needs time to adapt to the Premier League.

Jesus, a £27m signing from Brazilian club Palmeiras, made his City debut as an 82nd-minute substitute in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium.

He sent in a dangerous low cross and headed narrowly over the bar in his first few moments on the pitch, and had a goal ruled out for offside shortly afterwards.

His exciting debut came as no surprise to his countryman Carlos, who won 125 caps for Brazil between 1992 and 2006, but the former Real Madrid left-back has called for patience with the precocious young forward.

"Gabriel will be very important for Manchester City but he needs time to adapt," he said in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports. "I would ask that people don't put too much pressure on him too soon."

Gabriel Jesus looks on after the Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur
Image: Gabriel Jesus made his Manchester City debut against Tottenham

Jesus is regarded as the next global star of Brazilian football. He was part of the U23 team that won an Olympic gold medal in the summer, and he has scored four goals in his first six appearances for the senior side since making his debut in September.

"He showed what he can do in the last 15 minutes of the game against Tottenham," added Carlos. "He showed his fantastic speed and he scored the goal that was ruled out for offside. It made people notice him, but it can be difficult for a young boy coming to a new country. He has to adapt."

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Carlos, one of a host of iconic former players who will represent his country at the first Star Sixes football tournament at London's O2 in July, knows all about succeeding in Europe.

Roberto Carlos was speaking at a media event for the launch of Star Sixes
Image: Roberto Carlos was speaking at a media event for the launch of Star Sixes

He won three Champions Leagues and four La Liga titles during a glittering 11-year stay at Real Madrid between 1996 and 2007, and he also lifted the World Cup with Brazil in 2002.

He took his first step into coaching at Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala in 2012, and also had spells in charge of Sivasspor and Akhisar Belediyespor in Turkey and Delhi Dynamos in India before returning to Real Madrid as an ambassador and youth coach last year.

"My experiences as a manager were fantastic but now Florentino Perez has brought me home again to represent Real Madrid - only this time I'm wearing a tie!" he says. "I had a brilliant time there as a player and it's great to be back."

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Much has changed at Real Madrid since his playing days, but Carlos has relished the opportunity to work with his former team-mate Zinedine Zidane, who led the club to Champions League glory after taking over as head coach last season.

"I have a great relationship with Zizou and all the players - the youth team as well as the first team," he says. "I'm around them all the time. I'm learning and I'm very happy with the situation.

Roberto Carlos and Zinedine Zidane celebrate together at Real Madrid
Image: Roberto Carlos and Zinedine Zidane celebrate together at Real Madrid

"It's great to see Zizou doing so well. He was a very quiet team-mate, he didn't speak much, but he was a phenomenon on the pitch and he was learning all the time. We didn't know he was going to be a coach but he always had the qualities for it. I'm delighted for him."

His ties to the Bernabeu keep him focused on Real Madrid, but Carlos still finds time to follow English football and admits he came close to joining Chelsea before moving to Fenerbahce in 2007.

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"I spoke to Roman Abramovich about it," he says. "We had a meeting in Paris but it didn't happen due to a few small factors.

"I watch the Premier League every weekend. I think it's fantastic. One thing you notice is that the teams considered small are capable of surprising the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and City.

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"There are so many great players in the Premier League and of course the big teams are always the favourites, but the teams below them also play good football. The mixture of foreign and English players works really well.

"I love English football because it's real football. I love everything that surrounds it. The public, the atmosphere, the preparation. I always speak to Willian from Chelsea before his games - he loves it here."

Roberto Carlos was speaking at a media event for Star Sixes, a new competitive world football tournament for iconic former international players to be held at The O2, London, from July 13-16.

Tickets for the first-ever Star Sixes tournament will go on sale on Friday (January 27) at 9am at: www.theo2.co.uk/starsixes Follow: @starsixes

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