Arsenal star Gabriel Martinelli has all the tools required to become the world’s best footballer in the years to come, according to legendary Brazilian star Ronaldinho.
The 18-year-old, who completed a £5m move to the Gunners over the summer from Ituano, has made an impressive start to his Gunners career, scoring 10 times in 21 appearances for the club.
And with Jurgen Klopp marvelling over the Brazilian earlier this season with some rich compliments and in wondering how his own Liverpool side missed the boat, the moment the Premier League really took notice came last week when the player ran over half the length of the field – albeit aided by N’Golo Kante’s slip – to score a memorable goal in the 2-2 draw with Chelsea.
And Ronaldinho can already see comparisons between Martinelli and another of Brazil football’s most celebrated stars, former Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan striker Ronaldo.
“He reminds me of Ronaldo 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. Ronaldo went on to be the best player in the world – and that can also be the aim of Martinelli.”
Martinelli has already become the first teenager at Arsenal to score 10 in a season since the days of Nicolas Anelka and his form recently saw him linked with a blockbuster £50million transfer to Real Madrid.
And Ronaldinho reckons big things are just around the corner for Martinelli, including a maiden call up for the Brazilian national side.
“I am sure that his first Brazil cap is very close – he is ready,” he added. “Historically the national team has never been concerned with age. Ronaldo was playing for Brazil at 17 – and more recently Neymar and Jesus have played an important role when they were only teenagers.
“If you have the ability and the talent then you will get the chance – and the world can see that he (Martinelli) has the talent.”