Gabriel Martinelli responds to criticism of World Cup selection

November 11, 2022

Arsenal winger Gabriel Martinelli insists he isn’t bothered by those criticising Brazil manager Tite’s decision to take him to the World Cup this month.

Martinelli has made an excellent start to the season at Arsenal, getting five goals and two assists in 13 Premier League matches so far.

As a result of that form, he has been included in Brazil’s World Cup squad. However, not everyone is on baord, with former international Neto hitting out at the 21-year-old’s inclusion, saying Flamengo’s Gabriel Barbosa, formerly of Inter, should have been selected instead.

“This is a shame, a joke! I feel ashamed! 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,” he told Os Donos da Bola.

“Calling up Martinelli and not calling up Gabigol is 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 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.

“What has Martinelli done in European football? Arsenal are not even in the Champions League. This is a calamity!”

When asked about those comments, Martinelli was unfazed, saying such differences of opinion are normal.

“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. But I’m pretty cool about it. I think this is normal,” he told ESPN Brasil.

“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.”