Arsenal star Gabriel Martinelli responds to Ronaldinho comparing him to Ronaldo

Ronaldinho has compared Arsenal star Gabriel Martinelli to fellow Brazilian legend
Ronaldinho has compared Gabriel Martinelli to fellow Brazilian legend Ronaldo (Picture: Getty / YouTube)

Arsenal star Gabriel Martinelli has revealed he was left stunned by the glowing praise of Brazilian legend Ronaldinho who compared him to World Cup legend Ronaldo.

The Brazilian teenager joined Arsenal just over a year ago, plucked from relative obscurity by revered scout Francis Cagigao.

Martinelli had been enjoying a stellar breakthrough season before his campaign was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic and more recently a knee injury which could rule him out until the start of next season.

The versatile forward, who turned 19 last month, scored 10 goals in 26 appearances. Martinelli has also represented Brazil at Under-23 level and Ronaldinho has been mightily impressed by the youngster’s attitude and talent.

Speaking back in January, he said: ‘We as Brazilians are very excited about him and his future. ‘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.’

Responding to that lofty praise, Martinelli told Arsenal’s YouTube channel: ‘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.

Gabriel Martinelli also impressed Jurgen Klopp earlier this season after scoring twice at Anfield
Gabriel Martinelli also impressed Jurgen Klopp earlier this season after scoring twice at Anfield (Picture: Getty)

‘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? To be honest it still hasn’t sunk in. That’s the case for many things because they’ve happened so quickly in my life.

‘As I said I always have to keep my feet on the ground. I’m grateful for those who praise me and I always try to give my best to keep earning that praise but above all it’s about working hard and going for wins and success here at Arsenal.’

Ronaldinho is not the only authoritative figure to have showered Martinelli with praise with Jurgen Klopp describing him as a generational talent following his brace in a pulsating Carabao Cup tie earlier this season which Liverpool edged in a penalty shootout following a 5-5 draw.

‘[Van den Berg] played an incredible game. That’s really difficult to deal with these guys,’ said Klopp after the game. ‘Martinelli’s pretty much the same age but he’s a talent of the century, he’s an incredible striker, so it’s really difficult.’

In response to Klopp’s words of praise, Martinelli added: ‘I’m very proud that one of, it not the best coach in the world,said something like that about me. As an 18-year-old, it was a big deal for me, but of course I need to keep my feet on the ground and work hard.’

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