Copa America expert view: Gabriel and Martinelli

Gabriel Copa America

Ahead of the Copa America, we spoke to Brazilian football journalist Joao Castelo-Branco for his expectations surrounding Gabriel Magalhaes and Gabriel Martinelli at the tournament with Brazil.

Read what he had to say in the preview below.

How Gabriel Magalhaes and Gabriel Martinelli could be involved

“The feeling I get is that they haven’t been main starters for the team but they’re going to be really important in the competition.

“Magalhaes has been injured so that’s why he hasn’t played, but the fact that he was called up even though he was still injured at the end of the season - he was still having a lot of pain in his shoulder with his arm in a sling - the manager still wanted to have him in the squad.

"When Martinelli was called up for Qatar it was a surprise, but now he's one of the main guys"

“I heard that he trained on Monday for the first time properly with the group and he’s in contention. The defence has been a bit wobbly and it’s not set in stone so the place is sort of up for grabs still.

“On the right of defence is probably going to be Marquinhos. Eder Militao is an option. The left is more open between Beraldo from PSG, who is really young coming through, and Gabriel, so I think he’s in with a good chance of playing. The manager seems to like him a lot, but the manager has only had four games, so he’s sort of fighting for a place. I think he will end up playing, that’s my hunch.

“As for Martinelli, he’s also not really a starter in the team because there’s a lot of competition up front, but he seems to be considered like a really important part of the squad and I think he’ll be coming on a lot off the bench.

“He’s sort of got an attack of three players who are quite fluid like Raphinha on the right and Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo sometimes swapping with one more central and the other on the left, so it’s quite a lot of competition but Martinelli and Endrick, who is the new young star bought by Real Madrid, they always come on. Between those players, I think there will be a lot of rotation.

Gabriel Messi

“Martinelli definitely seems to be the first player to come on. At the moment, he’s not a starter but his status has grown a lot. When he was called up for the World Cup in Qatar it was a bit of a surprise and he was one of the unexpected call-ups, but now he’s one of the main guys in the squad.”

The view among Brazilian supporters on their chances at Copa America

“It’s a new manager who’s only had a few games in charge, Dorival Junior, so people know it’s a bit of a transition period with a young team, but there’s always a lot of expectation with Brazil, especially now Vinicius Juniorr is doing really well for Real Madrid. There’s a lot of talk in Brazil about how he should be a Ballon D’Or winner. Brazilian fans always have a lot of expectation that you have to win it and that’s the view in Brazil.

“Argentina are up there as well and Uruguay are an interesting team now Bielsa is their manager. They’ve got some good players. With Brazil, I suppose the more sensible feeling is that there’s a bit of a build-up to the World Cup at the same time. There are a lot of young players and it’s perfect to have a tournament to bed them in and to get his team sorted out.

“They left it late because they were all waiting for Ancelotti to come. The Federation thought they had him, but it took ages to sort out. They changed managers, had an interim coach, so they haven’t got that long compared to a lot of other teams, like England for example who have had the same manager for ages. Realistically, the team is still being built, but this is a great opportunity for the manager. The fans will be demanding, I’m sure.”

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