London (AFP) – Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus backed Brazilian international team-mate Neymar to make a full recovery in time to lead his country’s bid to win a sixth World Cup.
Neymar underwent surgery in Brazil last week to repair a broken bone in his foot just over three months from the tournament getting underway in Russia.
Jesus was Neymar’s strike partner as Brazil stormed through qualification once Tite took over as coach in June 2016.
But he too has had to bounce back from injury as he scored on his first start for over two months in City’s 2-1 Champions League defeat by Basel on Wednesday after recovering from knee ligament damage.
“Neymar sent me a message right after his injury,” said Jesus.
“I told him how I felt and how my recovery was. He is a fighter and everything is going to be fine.”
However, Jesus admitted he will take some time to get over the “fear” that a potential injury setback could cost him his place at the World Cup.
“When you are in the game, without wanting it, you end up thinking about the previous game where you got injured, you have a bit of fear.
“I think I still played with some fear, there’s some movements when I still have some worries about getting injured again.
“I know anything can happen but I’m sure that the more you play, the quicker that fear is going to go away.”
Jesus had displaced City’s all-time leading scorer Sergio Aguero at times earlier in the season when Pep Guardiola opted for just one recognised striker.
Aguero, though, has fully reestablished himself as Guardiola’s first choice in Jesus’s prolonged absence by doubling his tally for the season in the last two months to move onto 30 goals for the campaign.
And Jesus insisted his is happy to play a supporting role in City’s bid for Premier League and Champions League glory.
“Aguero is my team-mate and I’ll always cheer for him to score and help the club,” he added.
“When the opportunity comes for me, I’ll do my best and I’m sure that they’ll support me.”