Martinelli confirms Arsenal blocked Olympic involvement

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Gabriel Martinelli has confirmed that Arsenal blocked him from joining up with Brazil’s under=23 for the Olympic qualification tournament which is currently taking place in Colombia.

The 18-year-old, who also holds Italian citizenship, was apparently quite keen on playing for his country but accepted the Gunners decision given the competition falls outside the usual international breaks.

“I said that if it was up to me I would play,” he told UOL (translated by Sport Witness).

“We already knew it would be difficult. It was a time when I was starter at Arsenal, and people preferred not to let me go.”

So far Brazil seem to be coping well without Martinelli. They’ve won all four of their opening group games and will face Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay in a second group stage. Only the top two will secure a place in Tokyo.

If they do qualify and Martinelli gets selected for the tournament proper, it means he’ll likely miss pre-season with Arsenal and the opening games of the new campaign.

A call-up to Brazil’s senior side could also be on the cards. Having arrived in England under the radar, his recent exploits have suddenly earned him praise and attention from those in right places.

It probably helps that Edu’s replacement as Brazil’s technical director, Juninho Paulista, used to be the president of Martinelli’s former club, Ituano.

“He [Juninho] already called me, spoke to me and congratulated me on what I’m doing. I haven’t been called up yet, but I’m very calm about it.

“We talked a little after he went to the national team. He called me, said that this was the opportunity of my life, that I should give my best because things would go well. He was a fundamental guy in the four years that I spent at Ituano.”

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Mentalista

Headline should say pre-olympic, really.

gunnerpete

I would agree. He’s held back from the qualifying tournament, but there seems to still be a path to the Olympics if they qualify for him, not least of all because of Edu’s relationship with all parties.

T.A.

Actually, I think it has more to do with how bloody good he has been rather than Edu’s relationships.

gunnerpete

My point is avoiding the tournament but still have an Olympic shot. I could see how another team might insist on his participation in qualifying (especially as one as deep as Brazil).

Artetas Assistant

Auto-sounds dirty the instant Blogs types that Edu’s ‘friend’ has something going for him ?

Artetas Assistant

And you need to reread that part of the news post. Think you missed the more important relationship

Man Manny

Arsenal were right to keep him back from going to Colombia.

baz00r

We pay the wages. Will they compensate us if he gets injured? I think not.

Naked Cygan

This guy has been one of the few good things that has gone for us this season. His hunger and desire reminds me of Sanchez in his first season. We need to tie him down to a long contract with a big release claus. Barca and Real will come knocking in a few years if he keeps up with his progress.

Martin

They probably will but with the exception of Cesc we have never sold a top player in his prime to either club.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Hleb and Petit off the top of my head.

Renwahh

Van Persie? Arguably..

Renwahh

Nasri?

Renwahh

Adebayor?

Renwahh

Sorry missed to those clubs only, got caught up thinking how many players we have lost in their primes

ASC

Anelka

Vonnie

I think it’s a shame he couldn’t go. The fact that we are relying on an 18 year old to save our arses shows what a sad state this squad is in.

Mentalista

It’s a youth qualifier tournament. Not even Brazilian clubs release their first team players for this kind of tournament.

Kostas

Allow me to speculate a bit here: It is very convinient to claim that the club blocked his way because it delays his desicion for choosing nationality and EU passport or not. Of course Arsenal is also benefiting from that. It’s a win win lie from our side.

Pure speculation. But.

Wolf

Ah, Juninho Paulista. What a player he was.