In the 67th minute of Monday’s Granada-Las Palmas La Liga match, PSG loanee Jesé stepped onto the pitch for the first time with his new club Las Palmas. That moment was the culmination of Jesé’s life journey so far, one that started in the city of Las Palmas, went through Madrid, took a short detour in Paris, and now has returned where it all started. Too bad that very soon after those first steps, Jesé proceeded to trip over his own dick in embarrassing fashion.
Jesé, a 23-year-old forward, toiled for years on Real Madrid’s bench. He had long (and for good reason) been heralded as one of the club’s most promising youth products of his generation, yet rarely got more than a handful of minutes on the pitch thanks to the Blanco’s famously and perpetually overstocked, star-studded attacking ranks. His performances when he did make it out there generally impressed, and because he knew he needed more playing time if he was to maximize his talents, he decided to leave his boyhood club in the summer.
The young and talent-drenched prospect did not feel like he needed to take much of a step down, going from the biggest team in Spain to the biggest team in France by joining Paris Saint-Germain for a transfer fee of €25 million. He probably envisioned that he’d play a big part in filling the shoes of PSG’s recently departed star striker Zlatan Ibrahimović, either in the Swede’s vacated center forward role or taking up Edinson Cavani’s spot on the wing with the big Uruguayan moving centrally. Instead, Jesé played hardly any role at all. In the first half of PSG’s season, the Spaniard made but one start in Ligue 1 play, getting the majority of his minutes as a late substitute.
Thus, in trying to escape the bench of one super-club, Real Madrid’s, Jesé found himself languishing on the bench of another. He still wanted game time, and PSG obviously didn’t need him (even less so once they bought Julian Draxler in January), so both parties agreed that a loan move to get him playing was in everyone’s best interests.
Jesé’s two main suitors in the winter transfer window were Premier League club Middlesborough and La Liga upstarts Las Palmas. The wallet would’ve made Middlesborough favorites to sign him, seeing as they have all that EPL prestige and money and thus could afford to pay Jesé’s big salary without a problem. The heart would’ve pointed him in the direction of Las Palmas, the club of the city where he was born, and which desperately needed help in the striking department. Ultimately, the heart won out and Jesé got to go back home.
This is how we got to yesterday’s match, and that 67th minute appearance when the delighted Las Palmas fans first got to see the hometown kid in canary yellow, drooling no doubt about how his skills could take what was already an overachieving and attractively attack-minded team and put them over the top. Upon entering the game, Las Palmas were down 1-0 to relegation-threatened Granada. A couple minutes after making his way onto the pitch, Jesé had a golden opportunity to make his debut a memorable one in the 69th minute. Well, memorable in a good way. Because he’ll definitely remember doing this:
But hey, it was literally the second minute of the hundreds and hundreds of minutes Jesé will almost certainly get at Las Palmas. He’ll probably ball out the way he typically has when he’s played, and either Las Palmas will scrounge up enough change to make the move a permanent one or some other club will pay PSG what it will take for them to cut their losses while also giving the player the time on the pitch he’s looking for. Everything will probably be fine. Still, this was not the start he would’ve imagined.