Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli admits “some people in Brazil don’t know me” as he responds to a rant by a Brazilian pundit over his inclusion in the Selecao’s World Cup squad.
The Gunners have been in great form this season, winning 11 of their first 13 Premier League matches with Mikel Arteta’s side sitting top of the table going into the final weekend before the World Cup.
Martinelli has been in great form for Arsenal with the 21-year-old contributing five goals and two assists in those 13 Premier League fixtures.
And his form has led to Brazil coach Tite calling Martinelli up to the Brazil squad for the World Cup but not everyone was happy to see him in the squad.
Brazilian pundit Neto thinks calling up Martinelli over Flamengo’s Gabriel Barbosa shows “a lack of respect” and insists that “nobody knows who” the Arsenal forward is.
Speaking to Os Donos da Bola, Neto said: “This is a shame, a joke! I feel ashamed! Not because of Dani Alves’ story. What is Martinelli’s story? 33 career goals.
“This is a shame, a lack of respect for football.
“Doing this with football shows that you don’t deserve the position you are in.
“Calling up Martinelli and not calling up Gabigol is heresy, a lack of respect. The biggest shame of all the call-ups.
“Calling up Martinelli shows that you, Tite, shouldn’t hold the position you do, because you’re not fair to Gabigol.
“The guy (Martinelli) who scores five goals in the season, who walks around the mall here, nobody knows who he is… And not taking Gabigol, the guy who scored the goal of the Libertadores title, who scored 29 goals in the season.”
In a hint that he doesn’t like Arsenal players all that much, Neto added: “What has Martinelli done in European football? Arsenal are not even in the Champions League.
“This is a calamity! How many goals has Gabriel Jesus scored in these last games? Oh, none. In the World Cup? Zero. In the qualifiers? Zero. He hasn’t scored in eight games.”
But Martinelli was calm about the personal criticism with the Arsenal forward claiming it’s part of being in and around the Brazilian team.
“I think this is normal. Some people in Brazil don’t know me and it’s also normal to say that other players deserved to be there [the squad]. But I’m pretty cool about it. I think this is normal,” Martinelli told ESPN Brasil (via Sport Witness).
“I know what I’m doing at my club, I know my ability and I know what I can do. And you can be sure that I will do my best for the Brazilian team, in whatever I can help the team I will help. It will be a great experience for me.”
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