Gabriel Martinelli disappointed Arsenal blocked Brazil call-up

Gabriel Martinelli is pictured in action for Arsenal
Martinelli was called up by the Brazil Under-23’s (Picture: Getty)

Gabriel Martinelli has admitted he was eager to link up with the Brazil Under-23’s this month after receiving a call-up.

The striker is a rapidly rising star at the Emirates and his form had caught the eye of the Brazil national team, who are considering offering him a spot at the upcoming Olympics.

Brazil play a pre-Olympic tournament between 18 January to 9 February, but Arsenal blocked Martinelli’s request to link up with his international side.

Speaking to UOL, Martinelli revealed why Arsenal made their decision to keep hold of him: ‘I said that if it was up to me I would play. But we knew it would be difficult.

‘It was a time when I was a starter at Arsenal, and people preferred not to let me go.

‘He (Brazil general coordinator Juninho Paulista) already called me, spoke to me and congratulated me on what I’m doing.

Gabriel Martinelli celebrates scoring a goal for Arsenal
Martinelli’s goal is to represent Brazil at senior level (Picture: Getty)

‘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.’

Martinelli, 18, has stood out in a dismal season so far for Arsenal. Arteta is working to turn the club around and Martinelli has continued to impress.

The forward has scored ten times in 23 appearances and Arteta admitted he was surprised by Martinelli’s talent when he joined Arsenal as head coach.

‘I heard a lot of things about Gabby before I joined and the moment I saw him training it confirmed all the things I was told,’ Arteta said.

‘I was told, “You will see this kid, how he goes for every ball, his fighting spirit and the quality that every time he is in front of goal he’s a threat”.

‘I was told I would be surprised how prepared he is to compete with every player in the squad.

‘I just thought, “Yes, but he’s 18”. But when you see him in big games, how he goes about everything, it’s surprising.

‘The way he competes, how brave he is with every decision he makes on the field is very unusual for an 18-year-old.’

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