Feature

Martinelli's top South American stars

Gabriel Martinelli celebrates against Crystal Palace

Having netted twice in three games already this season, Gabriel Martinelli is a man on fire and one of the many shining stars from South America lighting up the Premier League.

So we decided to ask him to reveal his favourite and most influential players - past and present - from the continent that have featured in the division over the past 30 years to learn more about whose success he wants to emulate, who has helped shape his career and what qualities he looks for in a player.

Here is who Gabi chose as his top five: 

Juninho

Juninho playing for Middlesbrough

He was amazing on the ball in the final third, and his last pass was amazing. I love him on the pitch and off the pitch as well he’s a very good guy. 

When I was at Ituano in Brazil, he was the president there and I used to watch a lot of videos of him because he was with me every single day, so I wanted to know the type of player he was.

He was so important in my growth in football. I remember one time before I came to Arsenal, we had a meeting and he said: "it’s a different style of football, you need to be ready. It’s going to be faster and the players are going to be stronger" and I think it was good advice! 

He works for the national team at the moment, so I hope to see him at the World Cup at the end of the year!

Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring for Arsenal

I love his hunger. He was always running for every single ball, trying to win every duel, and I love it. I try to do the same because it’s very important for the team and for the fans as well because they play with us. If you give everything on the pitch, they will be supporting you, so this is important.

I have seen a lot of videos of him playing for Arsenal. He’s a great player and a legend of the club as well, so I’d like to meet him.

Carlos Tevez

Carlos Tevez

He was an amazing player. I loved the style he used to play with - always trying to go one against one and score and also had the same hunger I talked about before with Sanchez. I think he is one of the best.

He was playing for Corinthians in 2005/06 and that was my father’s team so he was a very good player. He helped us a lot! 

Emiliano Martinez

Emiliano Martinez of Aston Villa

When Emi was here, every single day I was with him and I could see how hard he works and how he is as a person. When I came he was the one who helped me a lot with the language, and give me lifts to the stadium and to the games! He and his family were amazing to me and my family. I remember near Christmas time, my family went to his house.

He’s an unbelievable goalkeeper as well. If you can remember in the Copa America, he was amazing. He’s so tall and very good on the ball as well, and that’s why I love him. 

Gabriel Jesus

Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli

The first time we met each other was in the preparations for the 2019 Copa America. He is an unbelievable player and I knew it before then because I used to watch the games and everyone in Brazil knew about his potential. 

He’s a great player and he’s helping us a lot. On the pitch, you can see the way that he plays and tries to help the team, and off the pitch he’s one of the captains. We are so lucky to have him.
 

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