Saturday, May 21, 2022

“It was a very special moment” – Martinelli on being selected by Brazil

Despite illness ruling him out of Arsenal’s win over Aston Villa, Gabriel Martinelli flew to Brazil on Sunday evening to join up with his country’s senior squad for the first time ever.

Given he was playing fourth-tier football in his homeland this time three years ago, it’s a real ‘pinch yourself’ moment for the 20-year-old who was starting to wonder if he’d get a chance to stake a claim for a place in the Seleção’s squad for Qatar 2022.

While Martinelli impressed for Brazil’s under-23s at the Tokyo Olympics, he didn’t get the nod for any of his country’s World Cup qualifiers as they made light work of topping the CONMEBOL rankings.

A run of good form for the Gunners finally persuaded head coach Tite to take a closer look.

“I still had hope,” said Martinelli in an interview with Globo.com.

“I was doing my best at Arsenal, doing my job to dig an opportunity. Thank God the opportunity came, I’ll try to make the best of it.”

It sounds like it was an emotional moment for those close to the player as news of his call-up was announced.

“When I got home [from training], I went through the door, sat on the couch with my dad, and Tite started saying the summons. I was very happy, with my father, my agents were also here. It was a very special moment, for being the first. It will forever be etched in my memory. As I said, I’ll try to make the best of it.”

He added: “Everyone has a great affection for Brazil, the players of our team when they talk about Brazil know that we had many quality players and we still have them today.

“Lacazette always makes fun of me and Gab [Gabriel Magalhães]. Even being from other countries, there is this recognition of the Brazilian team. In my opinion, it remains one of the greatest shirts in the world.”

Given the incredible attacking talent at Brazil’s disposal, Martinelli knows he has his work cut out in the next eight months if his World Cup ambitions are to come true.

“We have many stars in our team,” he said. “I will try to take advantage of the opportunity in the best way. All are great players, but each has its strengths. Neymar has his, Vinicius Jr has his, Antony has his. I will do my best to get my place in the World Cup.”

On his best position, he revealed: “I prefer to play on the sides, the left side specifically. But I also like to reach the area a lot with a chance to finish, so if the ball is left I’ll be in a good condition to score.

“I can also play on the right side, but my favourite position is on the left wing, infiltrating and being as close to the goal as possible.”

Martinelli also touched on how he’s managed to adapt in England, revealing the presence of his family and a Brazilian chef has helped smooth the way.

He also noted that his English improved rapidly during the months he was nursing a knee injury because he had to speak English with the club’s physiotherapists

Confident enough to conduct interviews in English, Martinelli will actually count as a homegrown player from next season having spent three years in the Gunners’ set-up prior to his 21st birthday.

He’s clearly comfortable in his surroundings, saying recently he’d happily stay at Emirates Stadium for the rest of his career. It appears that’s driven by his confidence in the quality around him in the dressing room.

“We had a very big revamp, our team has many youngsters, 23, 20 years old. We have a future ahead of us, if we keep this team, we can fight for titles in the following seasons, we will fight for that.

“This season we will fight for fourth place, to go to the Champions League, and then fight for the Champions League.”

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C.B.

Love him. Great player already with a very high ceiling. Quick, skilful, scores in the PL and a Brazilian International soon. And loves being at Arsenal.
At the age of 20!

GoonerJust

Way to go Marty!

Russ

Very happy for him (and us)

jw1

His interviews in English are quite good. Impressed with his ability to grasp it so well through convos with the physios.

Goonerink

The word ‘metatarsal’ only officially entered the English language in the 90s when Beckham broke his before the world cup. 😉

Fuzz

Martineeeeeli, Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe!

Gandalf

I’m glad you mentioned his command of the English language. I would say 99% of South Americans struggle or refuse to learn it when they play in the prem. It’s obviously not the be all and end all. But martinelli made sure to learn it, that’s when I knew he was serious about making it here. Love him.

Gooner7190

Just have to look at Tevez to back that up. West Ham, United & City all offered him English lessons & he turned them all down because he didn’t wanna. People slagged off Bielsa for his refusal to do his interviews in English but he’d been having English lessons since his first Christmas at Leeds & didn’t wanna do his interviews in the language because he didn’t trust his grasp of certain words & was worried he’d offend. Gabi probably decided he’d feel more at home if he could converse with his English speaking team mates without having to ask… Read more »

A Different George

To be fair, a lot of South American players come from much poorer economic backgrounds–and therefore far less educational opportunities–than English or European players. Odegaard or Leno probably started learning English in school when they were nine or ten years old, or even earlier. I don’t think that was true for someone like Alexis Sanchez or Gabriel Paulista

mc1892

And to add to that, the (few) English players who go abroad for the most part have a shocking command of the local language- if they even try.
Joe Cole’s French still makes me shudder on behalf of all English folk.

Mark

For a Brazilian, I’m sure this is a lifelong dream come true. So happy for him! He’s definitely earned it, and really proud that he’s feeling the Arsenal love, too!

Teryima Adi

Love the attitude of this lad. We have a great player on our hands.

Heavenly Chapecoense

I see him as the new RVP in terms of football not personality. Hope he will develop as much as Van Persie did.

Jordarse

And hopefully not end the way RVP did…

Sparksy Ozisalam

Martinelli, with his application and natural talents has me dreaming of what this team can achieve. Same goes for the other youngsters.

mjc1892

“We had a very big revamp, our team has many youngsters, 23, 20 years old.” This is telling to me. When Auba’s time at the club was coming to an end, there were so many pundits asking how the players will react. Well judging by what Gabi has said, and the way the team are playing, I’d say there’s total buy-in to only retaining the young and hungry. Different stakes obviously, but a colleague of mine who wasn’t pulling their weight were let go last week. The team’s productivity has gone through the roof. Seems a similar thing is happening… Read more »

Mkh

I know its too early to say what I am saying, but I think this guy will have a very bright future. I see him being a world-class player, and hopefully an Arsenal legend.

Mkh

And the thing that wonders me, is how on earth someone can see this talent in a tier-four player at that age!

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