Ronaldinho says Gabriel Martinelli reminds him of the Brazilian Ronaldo, in terms of his fearless attitude on the pitch.
As we covered last week, the media back in Brazil – the home country of Ronaldinho and Martinelli – are starting to buy into the hype around him.
It helps that the 18-year-old now has 10 goals for Arsenal. Three in his three games against big-six opposition doesn’t hurt either.
Whilst Mikel Arteta is urging calm and a long-term approach to evaluating Martinelli’s prospects, not everyone can contain their excitement. Ronaldinho particularly likes the confidence and attitude the Arsenal man is showing.
“We as Brazilians are very excited about him and his future,” Ronaldinho said. “It is one thing to have the talent – but another at the age of 18 to have the confidence.
“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.”
The comparisons to Ronaldo are certainly jumping the gun. The Brazilian scored 35 goals in 36 games in his first season in Europe, albeit in the Eredivisie. Martinelli can’t complain about having the support of one of Brazil’s legends in Ronaldinho though.
Ronaldinho also suggested Martinelli’s first Brazil cap must be ‘close’. There’s a bit of a tug-of-war forming between Brazil and Italy on that front. Jorginho told reporters last week that Martinelli could help Italy in their upcoming fixtures.
For now, Martinelli just needs to keep his head down and keep working.