The Brazilian striker has vast experience of playing top flight football in Italy, Spain and Germany.

Odisha FC have made what might be considered the signing of this Indian Super League season. The Juggernauts recently announced the signing of the experienced Jonathas Cristian de Jesus. The 32-year-old will be of huge benefit to the ISL club given his experience in club football. Jesus has played in top divisions in Brazil, Germany, Spain and Italy, making him one to watch out for.

The Juggernauts look desperate to improve on their bottom-placed finish last season. Jesus is the club’s sixth foreign signing this season, after the arrival of four Spanish players and Malaysian Liridon Kransniqi on loan from club Johor Darul Ta’zim. Odisha FC are well aware of how their previous season went. Having finished at the bottom of the table, the renovation is looking very positive. With a young squad sprinkled with experienced players, Odisha are a club to watch this season.

With more than 100 goals to his name, Jesus will be bringing the experience of playing for top flight clubs like Pescara, Torino, Elche, Real Sociedad and Hannover 96. Before joining the Juggernauts, Jonathas played for Hatta, on loan from fellow UAE outfit Al-Sharjah FC.

Past Experience

Jonathas Cristian de Jesus is a Brazilian player who started his football journey with Cruzeiro. After coming through the youth teams at the Belo Horizonte-based club, Jesus spent several seasons on loan at various local clubs, before eventually moving to Dutch side AZ Alkmaar. He initially played for the U-21 team at Alkmaar before earning a promotion to the senior team. Jesus made his top flight debut for AZ in 2009 against Roda JC. He scored on his debut, but was also sent off after two quick bookings.

The forward played 23 games for AZ Alkmaar before he was sold to Serie A club Brescia in 2011. After joining the La Leonessa in January, he only played a handful of matches as the club were relegated from the top division. In the next season, Jesus became the club’s top scorer in Serie B, with 16 goals and six assists to his name. His performance in the second tier earned Jonathas a return back into the Italian top flight with newly promoted club Pescara.

But, he struggled to repeat the same performances and was soon sent out on loan to Torino. From there he went to Serie B club Latina Calcio. Back in the second division, Jesus found form again and scored 14 goals in 33 games. It earned him a loan move to La Liga club Elche, where he continued his rich form.

Jonathas Jesus made his debut against the La Liga giants, FC Barcelona. He had a successful spell there, becoming the first Elche player to score 10 or more goals in a single La Liga campaign since the 1977-78 season. A year later, he joined Real Sociedad. Although he signed a five-year contract, he only stayed there for a year before moving to Russia.

He played for Rubin Kazan for a year. And then there was another shift as he joined the Bundesliga side Hannover. He had another great start, scoring on his debut for them. But, the striker returned to his native Brazil a season later and joined Corinthians on loan. His contract with Hannover was terminated after two years and he rejoined Elche, who now played in the second division. Six months later, he moved to the UAE, joining Al-Sharjah FC. He never played for them as he was loaned out to a fellow club Hatta.

Club career in numbers

Jesus made his professional debut for Cruzeiro, but did not score a goal for them. It took the move to the Netherlands to change his fate. He scored seven goals for AZ in the one year he spent there.

Then he moved to Brescia, which produced his best spell. In 41 appearances he scored 18 goals. Moving to another club in Italy, he joined Pescara for whom he featured 14 times scoring only once. During the two-year spell with the club, he went on loan to Torino and Latina Calcio. The first was an unsuccessful spell where he only appeared 11 times. However, the latter spell saw him produce 15 goals in 37 matches.

His move to Elche saw him become the club’s first player since 1978 to score more than 10 goals in a season. He ended with 14 goals in 34 matches. It was followed by a spell with Real Sociedad, where he produced half of what he did at Elche. His move to Russia was also effective, as he scored 15 times in 35 appearances for Rubin Kazan.

Jesus’ German spell lasted only 24 matches and seven goals as he was loaned out to Brazilian side Corinthians, where he scored only a goal. His return to Elche was also a short one, however, he maintained the form he had at the club previously. After scoring seven times in 14 matches, he joined the UAE side Al-Sharjah. He never featured for them as he was loaned out to Hatta, after which Odisha FC purchased him. He has scored 101 goals and assisted 32 times in 286 matches for 13 clubs.

Previous performances and how he could have an impact on Odisha FC

The 32-year-old is a potential replacement for another Brazilian Diego Mauricio. He was the player, who scored the majority of Odisha’s goals last season and replacing him was of immense importance. Jonathas Jesus seems to fit the bill perfectly. His stats speak for themselves, as he has scored goals across the world. The last two years in his career have been dull relative to the ones he had earlier. He played for four clubs in this span before joining the Juggernauts.

However, this doesn’t affect his ability in any way. With a massive frame, Jonathas Jesus is a menace inside the box. And once the ball reaches his right foot, consider the game over. His finishing is on-point and his accuracy level is high. Along with these attributes, he has pace and we can expect the opposition to have a hard time getting a hold of him.

The main purpose of his arrival is clear, he has to fill Mauricio’s boots. The Brazilian was the only standout player for the club last year and Jesus will be expected to maintain those standards. Infact, he will have help to outscore his compatriot, as Odisha have a stronger squad compared to the previous season.

As soon as he joined the club, he expressed his excitement, saying, “I am very excited for this new challenge in my career. The project that Odisha FC showed me had a big impact on my decision. I am very motivated and I am looking forward to playing in the ISL and achieve greater things with Odisha FC. Ama Team Ama Game!”

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