Future Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus helped Palmeiras win its first Brazilian championship title in 22 years after a 1-0 home victory over Chapecoense on Sunday. The Sao Paulo-based club has now won the tournament a record nine times, one ahead of Santos.
Defender Fabiano scored the only goal on 26 minutes from the edge of the box to put Palmeiras seven points ahead of second-placed Flamengo with one round left.
“Unfortunately this was my last game here. This is not goodbye, this is a ‘see you later”’ Gabriel Jesus told journalists on the pitch during the celebrations. “Here in Brazil I got the habit of winning titles, now I hope there are many more to celebrate in the future.”
“Never forget me because I will never forget you,” a tearful Gabriel Jesus told more than 40,000 fans at the Allianz Parque in Sao Paulo.
The 19-year-old player has already lifted a Brazilian cup with Palmeiras last year, won gold at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August and became Brazil’s No. 9 under new coach Tite, scoring five goals in six matches of the World Cup qualifiers.
Gabriel Jesus, who will miss the last round of the Brazilian championship, signed in August for Man City but stayed in Brazil to see out the season.
Relegated twice to the second division after their last title, Palmeiras’ recovery was financed by millionaire club president Paulo Nobre.
Nobre, a former rally racer from a wealthy family, lifted the trophy accompanied by 24-year-old striker Dudu, one of the team’s best performers this year.
The stars of the team include Gabriel Jesus, who was Palmeiras’ top scorer in the tournament with 12 goals, and 42-year-old Ze Roberto, a former defensive midfielder with Brazil, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.