Gabriel Martinelli has confirmed that playing for Italy is definitely off the table now, and he wasn’t even approached by their national team hierarchy.
Gabriel Martinelli is with the Brazilian national team this month, and he’s hoping to make his senior international debut for the side. But he’s still technically eligible to play for Italy.
Up until your fourth competitive appearance for a country, you can still choose to switch international allegiances – as long as you were under 21 when you made those first three appearances.
There’s obviously no chance 20-year-old Martinelli plays four matches this break, given Brazil only have two fixtures. That means he will still be able to switch to Italy, if he so desires.
Speaking in an interview with Globo Esporte, Martinelli confirmed that’s not going to happen.
“I had already put that (playing for Italy) aside,” Martinelli said.
“As I’ve said before, my dream was to play for Brazil, I was just waiting for the opportunity to play for Brazil.”
Martinelli then added that he’d never even been seriously approached by Italy, other than informally by Chelsea midfielder Jorginho after a game.
“No (the Italy hierarchy didn’t speak to me),” Martinelli added.
“No player spoke to me, only Jorginho once said “I hope to see you in March”, something like that, but no one spoke to me, no.”
That seemingly puts an end to any lingering speculation. Martinelli is going to be a Brazil player, and the Italian national team will just have to look elsewhere.