When Martinelli joined Arsenal aged 18 in 2019, the club used the Europa League to get him into the first team, but now the Brazilian is one of the team’s star players.
With Arsenal need only to match PSV Eindhoven’s result against Bodo/Glimt to top Group A – and secure a bye to the Round of 16 – Mikel Arteta is expected to make changes ahead of their game against Chelsea on Sunday . Martinelli, however, is ready to start making sure the Gunners get the job done.
The striker has been in fine form this season and is Arsenal’s top scorer with five goals along with Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Jesus.
” I’m not gonna tell you [my goal target]”, Martinelli said. “But before the start of the season, I was talking to my dad and I said, ‘I’m going to score this number of games and give this number of assists’.
“I always try to have a number in my head and try to reach it. I’m fine so hopefully at the end of the season I will reach my numbers.
It has now been just over three years since Martinelli joined Arsenal for around £6million from Ituano, who played in Brazil’s fourth tier at the time.
He arrived speaking barely a word of English, while his short stature had some at the club wondering whether he would be better off spending a year on loan abroad before playing in the Premier League. Martinelli shone during Arsenal’s pre-season tour of the United States, and it was decided he would stay at the club. The striker then worked hard to increase his strength and now he even has his own gym at home.
Martinelli’s diet has improved, largely thanks to the employment of a chef and advice from Arsenal’s club nutritionist. As a result, he is now seven kilograms heavier than when he came to England in 2019.
Considering how he fought to the top at Arsenal, it would be wise not to bet against Martinelli making Brazil’s World Cup squad.
His English also improved considerably, with Martinelli taking regular lessons and having been encouraged by then Gunners goalkeeper Emi Martinez not to speak Portuguese on the training ground.
There was no one with an easier job yesterday than the translator who sat next to Martinelli as he spoke to the media in perfect English.
“I came from a small club in Brazil to play for Arsenal,” Martinelli said. “It’s a big step and I knew I had to change a lot of things to improve and play here because one thing comes to play and another thing is to play.
“I knew that and from day one I’ve always tried to do the right things, with my diet and what I have to do in the gym.”
Martinelli’s hard work at Arsenal has paid off and he is now hoping to catch the eye of Brazil. The 21-year-old is pushing hard to make the squad for this month’s World Cup but his attacking line is arguably the most competitive in world football.
“I want to be there too, I want to be on the list,” Martinelli said. “Of course I want Brazil to succeed in the World Cup and win it.”
Martinelli had only just made his professional debut at the previous World Cup, so going to Qatar would underscore his incredible rise. But considering how he fought all the way to the top, it would be wise not to bet against Martinelli in the Brazil squad.