Great Britain

Stunned Martinelli admits Ronaldinho praise ‘still hasn’t sunk in’ after he compared Arsenal star to Brazilian Ronaldo

GABRIEL MARTINELLI is revelling in the heartfelt praise he’s received from Brazil icon Ronaldinho.

And the Arsenal hotshot revealed he was left gobsmacked by the Brazilian comparing him to World Cup star Ronaldo.

Speaking to Arsenal’s YouTube Channel an awestruck Martinelli said: “‘Wow, when I heard that I couldn’t believe it.

“It’s crazy because I was in Brazil until recently, playing in the Copa Sao Paulo, which is a prestigious youth-level competition, but it’s nothing like the Premier League.

“To get here and play in the Premier League for Arsenal, one of the best clubs in the world, and for one of the best Brazilian players of all time to speak to highly of me and compare me with one of the best forwards in football history is something that seems hard to believe.

“You think, ‘could he really be talking about me? Is it me?”

Martinelli has had an outstanding start to his Emirates career after the Gunners signed the relatively unknown youngster from Ituano in 2019.

The 19-year-old, discovered by super scout Francis Cagigao, has netted an impressive ten times in 26 appearances in his debut season.

However the suspension of league matches earlier this year and a left knee injury have put the brakes on his rapid progress.

Among Martinelli’s most memorable Arsenal goals was his stunning strike against Chelsea in January.

The Brazilian youngster sprinted 67 yards and tore through Chelsea’s defence to slide in a stunning equaliser in a derby which ended 2-2.

That month Ronaldinho hailed the teenager’s raw talent which he sees as similar to the skills exhibited by his World Cup winning teammate.

The Barcelona legend said: "It is one thing to have the talent, but another at the age of 18 to have the confidence.

"He reminds me of Ronaldo. In 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.

‘We as Brazilians are very excited about him and his future.

The Gunners certainly could have done with Martinelli’s zest on the pitch during their battle with bitter rivals Tottenham this afternoon.

Mikel Arteta’s men took the lead via a thumping Alexandre Lacazette goal in the 16th minute.

But Tottenham got the upper hand netting a first half equaliser and a second-half winner through Son Heung-min and Toby Alderweireld.

The Sunday afternoon loss leaves Arsenal, who face Liverpool on Wednesday, in ninth place.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta backs rival Jose Mourinho to turn Tottenham around

Football news:

Dzeko Pro 0:2 with Sevilla: Roma never got into the game
Sergio Region: Sevilla are determined to win the Europa League. We want to win everything we can
Well, about the game with Olympiacos: We did a great job. I watched the match Sevilla-Roma, now I will review it
In the 1/4 final of the Europa League, Bayer will play Inter, Manchester United-with Copenhagen, Wolverhampton against Sevilla, Shakhtar-Basel
Pep Guardiola: Getting children back to school is more important than spectators at stadiums
Raul Jimenez has scored 37 (27+10) points in all competitions this season. Best result in the Premier League alongside de Bruyne
Sevilla has won the Europa League or the UEFA Cup after reaching the 1/4 final on the last 5 occasions