Gabriel Jesus expects tough test against Saudi Arabia in Riyadh

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Jesus failed to score at this summer's World Cup and need to impress coaches for both club and country. (AFP)
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Updated 08 October 2018
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Gabriel Jesus expects tough test against Saudi Arabia in Riyadh

  • Green Falcons set to face Samba stars on Friday, before South Americans take on Argentina four days later.
  • Jesus says team refuse to take Saudi Arabia lightly.

LIVERPOOL: As a forward, it is rather apt that Gabriel Jesus does not want to dwell too much on the past.
This may be due to a debut World Cup that did not go as planned for the Brazil striker. Or, subsequently, a new season with Manchester City where the 21-year-old has played only a bit-part role for the Premier League champions.
Frustrated, disappointed, Jesus is determined to keep his emotions in check and focus on the challenges ahead.
They start this week with a return to the international fold and a trip to Saudi Arabia where Brazil will face the host nation on Friday in Riyadh and their arch-rivals Argentina in Jeddah four days later.
Having been left out of the squad for September games with the US and El Salvador, Jesus told Arab News exclusively: “I’m very happy to be back with the national team for these games.
“I haven’t watched much of Saudi Arabia, but football has changed a lot and there aren’t easy teams anymore.
“I reckon they are a strong team and I know every team that faces Brazil really wants to beat us. We need to prepare for this game properly and then play really well to get the win against them.
“Argentina? It’s a ‘Clasico’ game for us, and also for them. It’s a big rivalry between us. We need to play our football, prepare the game well and play at our best because we are facing a great national team with great players.
“I just hope it can be a great show for the supporters and we are able to win.”

Saudi Arabia ended their World Cup with a well-deserved win over Egypt in Russia. 

 


Under coach Tite, Brazil are rebuilding after a World Cup in Russia where they lost to Belgium in the quarterfinals and failed to justify their tag as favorites.
Despite helping City secure a record-breaking title success, Jesus also failed to score in his five appearances and admitted: “The World Cup didn’t go the way I wanted, but that is a past episode in my career. I overcame that, I learnt from it.
“I always said that playing in the World Cup is a dream for every player.
“I went with the thought of winning the World Cup, to do a good job there with the rest of my team-mates. It didn’t happen the way we wanted to.
“With Brazil, the expectations are always really high, the yardstick is always high for all the players.
“If that happens, it is because we have proved that we are able to win the competition. Unfortunately, we didn’t win it, but now it’s heads up and we have to look forward to keeping Brazil where it deserves to be (at the top).”
This time a year ago Jesus was feted as Brazilian football’s next striking sensation when he scored twice in a 3-0 World Cup qualifying win over Chile.
Handed the iconic No. 9 shirt worn by legends such as Ronaldo, teammate Neymar once said that after Lionel Messi, compatriot Jesus was the second most skilful player he had played with.
Having lived in a Sao Paulo favela until he was 16 and brought up by mother Vera Lucia in a single-parent family, Jesus is used to battling to fulfil his dreams.
He is now hoping the internationals will allow him to find the form to persuade City manager Pep Guardiola to give him more starts.
Just two have come in the league and Jesus saw a cameo in Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Liverpool overshadowed by a missed penalty from Riyad Mahrez that ended with Guardiola apologizing for not allowing him to take it.
“Pep Guardiola and the coaching staff decided that Riyad was going to take the penalty,” he revealed.
“Obviously I’m not happy. Like Riyad, I’ve been practicing (taking penalties). I would like to have taken it. I was confident, so I was not happy that they did not allow me.
“Pep spoke with me. This is part of football, sometimes these things happen. I will support Riyad if the manager chooses him again.”
“In the end, we drew, we didn't lose, we stay top of the table, and that's what matters.”

Riyad Mahrez's penalty miss against Liverpool on Sunday cost Manchester City three points. 

 


City remain top on goal difference from Chelsea and Liverpool and Jesus - a £27 million signing from Palmeiras in January, 2017 - added: “It's very difficult to win here at Anfield, but not impossible. For small details we didn't manage to win, but I think we were better than Liverpool overall.”
“Obviously, I'm not completely happy for not playing regularly. But I'm happy with my training sessions.
“People usually don't see us training, they only see the games. When I don't play, I'm not happy, but I keep training hard and keep being focused so when my opportunity arrives I can make the most of it. Now it's time to focus on the national team.
“I hope I can now return to play the same football I have always played with the national team.”


Saudi Arabia’s biggest celebration of motor racing returns with Formula E back at Ad Diriyah

Updated 25 June 2019
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Saudi Arabia’s biggest celebration of motor racing returns with Formula E back at Ad Diriyah

  • The event will take place on Nov. 22 and 23
  • Two major races will take place in this year’s E-Prix, which made its Middle East debut in the Kingdom last year

RIYADH: This year’s Formula E season will kick off with a doubleheader in Ad Diriyah in November, backed by a huge festival of off-track action, music, culture and heritage.

The 2019 “Saudia” Ad Diriyah E-Prix promises to eclipse the inaugural 2018 edition, with two races, instead of one, being staged at the stunning UNESCO world heritage site of Ad Diriyah, and with crowds of up to 100,000 expected to attend.

Last year’s sell-out E-Prix featured music icons such as David Guetta, Enrique Iglesias, One Republic and the Black-Eyed Peas, performing as part of the racing championship’s debut in the Middle East.

2019 will see Porsche and Mercedes competing for the first time, boosting the number of cars on the track. Plus, Ad Diriyah will be ready to welcome even more international tourists, after the surrounding At-Turaif district finalizes its ambitious development program.

Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the General Sports Authority (GSA), said: “Formula E’s arrival in the Kingdom was a watershed moment for us, one that thousands witnessed together.

“The 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix excited our nation through its exhilarating action, heroes and entertainment. Thanks to the ambitions of Vision 2030, it was the biggest festival of sport, music and culture the Kingdom has ever seen.

“This year we look forward to igniting an even bigger season of motor racing for Formula E, to welcome even more international visitors, and to create another unforgettable moment for our people.”

In a recent interview with the UAE’s The National newspaper, DJ David Guetta hailed the 2018 event, which included the country’s first unsegregated concerts.

“I’m really proud that I’ve done this. There is obviously a very big effort in Saudi to open to music and to artists. And as an artist, I play for the people and the people were obviously so happy,” he said.

“It was incredible to see men and women dancing and letting go of everything. It was a great honor for me to be part of this.”

Last year saw travelers from 80 different countries flock to the event, taking advantage of the first-ever 30-day tourism visas issued under the new online Sharek immigration system. For 2019 the process has been enhanced to make visiting the Kingdom even easier.

Second staging

The 2019 E-Prix will be the second of a 10-year partnership between Formula E, the GSA and the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF). The event will be staged again by promoter CBX, which successfully created the racetrack and venue in the heart of the heritage site.

Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Faisal, president of SAMF, said: “In 2018 the track proved itself a world-class venue for motorsport, hailed by racers as one of the most exiting they have faced.

“This year sees even more teams enter the championship, with Porsche and Mercedes entering the fray. Last year Ad Diriyah was the launchpad for the new ‘Gen 2’ race cars and the exciting ‘Attack Zone’ innovation. This year will be the first time drivers will have an additional 10 kilowatts (kW) of power available when using the ‘Attack Mode,’ rising from 225kW to 235kW.

“Add to that, a double header — two races instead of one — with a total of 24 cars competing. This will fire up Saudi Arabia’s passion for motorsports, and we are ready to welcome Formula E back.”