WORLD 2022 – Brazil – Cameroon: Pedro, the unknown center-forward that the Brazilians would prefer to Gabriel Jesus

When Tite announced his roster for Qatar, you might not have known him. Or you may have thought at one time that the former Spanish international had found a way to change his sporting nationality in order to afford one last World Cup at 35. And then, you must have discovered the face of this famous Pedro in the video that made the rounds of social networks where we see him asking his girlfriend to marry after hearing her name in the 26 summoned with the “Seleçao” for this World Cup. But for fans of South American football, Flamengo’s leading striker is obviously anything but a stranger. In Brazil, they are even legion to campaign to see him overtake Gabriel Jesus in the hierarchy of Auriverde center-forwards for this World Cup.

If Pedro has not yet come into play in Qatar, the two are also in competition to start in the lead in the last group match of the Brazilians against Cameroon this Friday while Tite has planned to rotate widely. And if the center forward of Arsenal seems to hold the rope, it is not to everyone’s taste in the land of football. In a poll conducted by the Brazilian reference media O Globo to find out who Internet users wanted to see as a leading striker in the starting lineup against the Indomitable Lions, the result is clear: 85% for Pedro, 15 % for Gabriel Jesus. A real plebiscite. In another poll to know the ideal eleven for this third meeting, Pedro is even the one who received the most votes. Seen from Europe, this may surprise.

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Substitute in club at the beginning of the year

Gabriel Jesus is having a solid start to the season with Arsenal, where he landed this summer. With 5 and 7 assists, the former Manchester City player took a key place in the Gunners’ promising start to the year. But now, he has been scoring less for a few weeks now. Worse, he has regularly missed the opportunity to win in the selection after a debut yet guns in 2016. Moreover, he has still not scored in the World Cup in seven appearances … “He is one of the best strikers in the world, he is more mature than in 2018. The goal will come naturally“, pleads the legend auriverde Ronaldo, Dans O Globo. But what also and perhaps especially pushes certain Brazilians to prefer Pedro is explained by the performances and the history of the latter.

At the start of 2022, no one would have bet on him. The native of Rio de Janeiro did not really enter into the plans of his coach, Paulo Sousa. From April to June, he was most often chomping at the bit on the Flamengo bench. At 25, it was a new complicated episode in the career of a striker, who has already missed an experience in Europe on the side of Fiorentina where he only stayed five months for four small entries into play (2019- 2020).

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Preferred to Firmino

Despite these new difficulties, Pedro still managed to stay focused to change everything with the arrival of Dorival on the bench of the carioca club. “Even in difficult times, I never stopped believing that it would be possible, he explained to the daily Lance. I managed to recover my mind, I worked hard on a daily basis and I was able to get what I needed in Flamengo” What he needed was playing time. Afterwards, Pedro was clinical in front of goal.

Author of 30 achievements and 7 assists in 60 meetings in 2022 with the Rio club, the 25-year-old center-forward became essential as soon as he was given a more consistent role. And was instrumental in the Copa do Brasil and Copa Libertadores successes of “Mengao”. His efficiency and his trophies then allowed him to enter the small papers of Tite, who summoned him in September before calling him for Qatar being preferred to Roberto Firmino, center forward of Liverpool. Which is already anything but trivial. Since then, some would like even more in Brazil. “As Richarlison is doing well in selection, there is no reason to remove him. But if he had been there since the beginning of the cycle, I would have started with Pedro“, had slipped in Spear Zico, the legend of Flamengo and Brazil, before the first match of the World Cup. In his eyes, Gabriel Jesus does not enter into the discussion. And it’s not just a trend in Brazil.

Scorer in a friendly against Tunisia in September (5-1), the best scorer of the Copa Libertadores with 12 goals, who has for models “Robert Lewandowski et Karim Benzema“, don’t make waves. Already delighted to be part of the adventure (“This will be my first World Cup, a childhood dream come true” he had confessed to the microphone of Fla TV in November), he remains ready, as always. And hopes to continue this stunning year 2022 in the most beautiful way. By ending with this sixth star so desired in Brazil for 20 years now. And if he manages to have a role in this quest, the story would be even more beautiful.

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