The latest addition to the Toronto FC family was introduced to the media on Tuesday afternoon.
28-year-old Spanish forward Jesús Jiménez joins the club from Polish side Górnik Zabrze
“He's a very interesting attacker,” said TFC Head Coach Bob Bradley. “I really like the way he moves, he's creative, he's skillful. He'll come off the defense at times and find balls between the lines, but in other moments he finds really good ways to run deep, you see him take balls on the run, he's a good dribbler.”
“He scores different kinds of goals – that's always something that I love to see in attackers, that they've got a way to get into the box and score in a variety of ways, so I love that part,” he continued. “When we started to check on him, everything came up in a positive way, his mentality, his leadership at Górnik Zabrze. And then when we spoke to him, he just seemed so motivated. He's a personable guy. And even in a very short time, you can see him already establishing himself with his teammates.”
The opportunity to start a new phase of his career in North America immediately appealed to Jiménez.
“MLS is a league that's been growing a lot in the last few years and I was really interested,” he said through a translator. “When I got the call from Toronto FC, I was very excited because I think that is a good step for me so that I can continue growing in my career.”
Having been developed in Spain, the experience in Poland will serve him well in MLS.
“The league in Poland is very physical, the same way that you can see in Germany and England. It's a lot of attacking back and forth,” said Jiménez. “And I think MLS falls into that category as well. There's a lot of physicality and running. I think that’s a similarity that you can find in those leagues.”
Having just joined the side in Austin, Texas as the next phase of preseason gets underway, Jiménez has not had a chance to experience Toronto itself just yet, but his countryman Alejandro Pozuelo has filled him in on what awaits.
“I’ve been only a day here with the team, there's been a lot of travel in the last few days, but so far talking with Alejandro he has said great things about the club, the country, the city,” relayed the forward. “He's mentioned that I'm going to be really happy here.”
Bradley explained that the process of identifying and researching Jiménez utilized both internal elements and his personal football network.
“The scouting department brought his name up,” he began. “I have a colleague that's now a head coach in Poland, a young coach named Tomasz Kaczmarek. Tomasz was with me in Egypt and then in Norway, and now he's the coach at Lechia Gdańsk.”
“The name came up, we looked at him, we did a lot of checking, not only in terms of his performance on the field, but just behind the scenes, really well respected there. Tomasz told me that he felt that Jesus was one of the best players in the league,” Bradley detailed. “And then when we watched him we really felt that his way of moving, his way of taking certain balls, getting into the box, his mentality on the field, all things that we really loved as we got to know more about him.”
As a forward, Jiménez was clear when asked what kind of game he preferred.
“I like the kind of game where you’re always attacking,” he replied. “I’m a striker that always likes to keep the ball and attack and find a way to score or even assist. I always feel more comfortable every time I'm able to keep the ball with me.”
“The player that influenced my career and always pushed me to push for this dream of becoming a player was Ronaldinho,” said Jiménez. “The way that he attacked, the way that he always creates opportunities for goals and assists in the teams.”
His flexibility will be an asset for TFC as the team evolves in a new direction under Bradley.
“I like to be as close as possible to the box, to have those opportunities to score, but I'm always available to play in different attacking positions,” explained Jiménez. “I think one of the qualities I have is I like to read the game, see where I can find the spaces to pass the ball and move around.”
“I will always find a way to adapt,” he added. “I haven't really had time to sit down and talk with Bob much because I've been here only for one day, so I'm hoping to get to work closely with him the next few days and we'll see where he needs me to be on the field. I always try to help the team in the best way I can.”