You can take the boy out of Brazil, but you can’t take Brazil out of the boy.
Gabriel Martinelli swapped South America for north London in the summer of 2019, joining Arsenal from Ituano for a reported £6million transfer fee.
Despite a difficult first season in English football that included three different head coaches in Unai Emery, Freddie Ljungberg and Mikel Arteta as well as a world worldwide pandemic, the Brazilian was one of the Gunners’ standout players in 2019/2020.
Injury would cruelly bring Martinelli’s debut campaign for Arsenal to a premature end, although he did manage to score 10 goals across all competitions – including finding the back of the net at both Stamford Bridge and Anfield.
As a result, he was tipped for a bright future by none other than Brazil legend Ronaldinho, who picked out a couple of attributes that make Martinelli comparable with another icon in Ronaldo.
“We as Brazilians are very excited about him and his future,” Ronaldinho told the Mirror. “It is one thing to have the talent – but another at the age of 18 to have the confidence.
“He reminds me of Ronaldo his first season in Europe, he scored 30 goals and people were thinking: ‘who is this 18 year old Brazilian kid?’
“He wanted the ball, he would run at players, there was no fear no matter what players or team he was playing against – and I see that similar attitude in Martinelli.
“He just wants to be on the ball and score goals.
“Ronaldo went on to be the best player in the world – and that can also be the aim of Martinelli.”
Whilst there’s still time on Martinelli’s side to become the best player in the world, it has been revealed that he does something in Arsenal training sessions in an attempt to emulate some of Brazil’s finest.
Ronaldinho and Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar – for the current generation – are widely considered as two of the most skillful players to have ever graced the game.
So much so that they both have ‘nutmeg’ compilation videos on YouTube.
And, according to Ainsley Maitland-Niles, it would appear that Martinelli is trying his best to be in the same conversation with his compatriots one day.
“Martinelli loves a nutmeg,” Maitland-Niles revealed in an ‘Ask Me Anything’ (AMA) session on Arsenal’s official Twitch account. “He loves trying a nutmeg.
“It’s in his DNA, he’s Brazilian.”
With that said, Martinelli doesn’t often get the chance to showcase his skillful side away from the training pitches at London Colney.
After returning from Olympics duty in the summer with a Gold medal, the 20-year-old started Arsenal’s first two games of the season against Brentford and Chelsea.
However, he’s not made a Premier League appearance since August and seems to be below the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Nicolas Pepe in the pecking order for a place in Mikel Arteta’s best starting XI.
Source by Football London