Arsenal youngster, Gabriel Martinelli, has admitted he still finds it hard to process being compared to Brazilian great Ronaldo by another Brazil legend, Ronaldinho.
The mercurial samba talents are two of the biggest names in football from the last three decades. Ronaldo, who twice won the World Cup, and Ronaldinho, formed part of a famous attacking ‘Three R’s’ trio involving Barcelona legend, Rivaldo.
And Martinelli, who has impressed for Arsenal this year, has been compared to ‘R9’ by Ronaldinho, praise that the Gunners star can’t quite get his head around. Speaking to the Arsenal official website, he said:
“For one of the best Brazilian players of all time to speak so 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 try to keep my feet on the ground.”
The 19-year-old Gunners star has missed the last month or so with an injury. However, prior to that, he was becoming a key player for Mikel Arteta, along with fellow young Arsenal star, Bukayo Saka.
Despite the high praise, Martinelli is keen to keep grounded and seems determined to have success with Arsenal.
“I’m grateful to 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,” he added.
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And that’s the level Mikel Arteta will be pushing Martinelli to aim for. Attacking players don’t come much better than Ronaldo and Ronaldinho. Both were brilliant in equal measure.
If Arsenal can get their prodigy even close to that level, then they’ll have success.
The talent is there. The attitude seems to be, too. Martinelli, then, could well guide the Gunners to glory in the coming seasons.