Who Is Martinelli: Ex Brazil Star Protests Arsenal Man’s Call Up

Former Brazil international Neto has questioned why Gabriel Martinelli has been selected for 2022 World Cup duty, claiming “nobody knows who he is!”

The 21-year-old was included in Tite’s 26-man squad which was announced on Monday after showing fine form for highflying Arsenal this season. In 13 Premier League matches so far this campaign, the winger has registered five goals and two assists.

Neto, who labelled it a ‘calamity’ said Tite’s ‘shame’ at overlooking Flamengo star Gabigol in favour of Martinelli is proof he shouldn’t be the manager in Qatar. 

Speaking on 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 your position.”

He added: “Calling up Martinelli and not calling up Gabigol is a lack of respect. The biggest shame of all the call-ups.”

Neto then claimed that nobody knows who Martinelli is in Brazil.

The former player continued: “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.

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

Neto then took aim at Martinelli’s Arsenal teammate, Gabriel Jesus.

He said: “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.”

One surprise omission in the Brazil squad came in the shape of Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino, who has been in fine form this season. 

Firmino has more goal contributions in the Premier League than the likes of Martinelli, Jesus, Richarlison and Antony, who have been selected ahead of the Reds player.

Brazil are currently the bookies’ favourites to lift the trophy in Qatar. They are in Group G alongside Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon.