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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Manchester City-bound Gabriel Jesus earns Brazil's Bola de Ouro

Gabriel Jesus of Palmeiras celebrates with Brazilian Series A 2016 the trophy.
Gabriel Jesus scored 12 goals to help Palmeiras to the league title.

Palmeiras striker Gabriel Jesus was awarded Brazil's Player of the Year after scoring 12 goals this season to guide the club to the league title, their first in 22 years.

The 19-year-old, who joined City on a five-year contract for a reported £27 million, is regarded as one of the hottest prospects in world football after winning silverware with Brazil and Palmeiras, and hopes to fulfil his potential in the Premier League under Pep Guardiola when he joins up in January.

"Without a doubt, it was the group and the strength of the Palmeiras team that made the difference," Jesus said upon receiving the Bola de Ouro, the league's top award. "We are a team of warriors. Cuca [coach] said before the Brasileirão season started that we would be champions and then people said that he predicted it.

"But we had to suffer for it. When the season started, we had to battle against relegation at the Campeonato Paulista [regional championship]. We learned from that situation and now we are able to be the champions."

Carlos Tevez, Ronaldinho and Neymar are all previous winners of the award, which  has been organised by Brazil football writers since the '70s.

In addition to his 12 league goals, Jesus also helped Brazil win Olympic gold this past summer and has been the spark that has helped the Selecao reach top of table in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying.

Jesus agreed the £27m move in the summer from Palmeiras but City allowed him to see out the Brazilian season first.

City director of football Txiki Begiristain said: "We have Jesus coming -- he will strengthen our attack, so we are happy."

In a tribute, Pele received a special recognition and had words of praise for Jesus as the teenager begins his international career.

"He's a kid with a lot of future. It's a deserved award, no doubt," Pele said. "He's the best we got right now. And I think he can improve a lot.

"He will have more experience playing international games and will have a good times playing in Europe. It's a harder game there, more physical. He will improve a lot."

Palmeiras players took seven of the 11 places in the annual awards ceremony.

Chapecoense goalkeeper Danilo, who died in the Colombia air crash at the age of 31, was posthumously voted by the fans via internet as their favourite and his mother, Ilaides Padilha, accepted the award on his behalf during the ceremony in Rio de Janeiro.

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