Arsenal striker Gabriel Martinelli has explained how he trained with both Manchester United and Barcelona before moving to the London club.
The Brazilian has impressed on his debut season with the Gunners – he has netted 10 goals in 25 appearances for the first team and appears to have a bright future ahead of him.
The 18-year-old is said to be one of the brightest prospects in Brazilian football and has already appeared for their Under-23 team, while enjoying an increasingly prominent role at the North London club.
He moved to Arsenal last year from Brazilian club Ituano and he was able to play immediately as he does not require a visa or work permit, due to holding an Italian passport.
“Ituano and United had an agreement that allowed me to go every year, for four years, to train with boys my age or older. It was great, because I could try English football. I met Fellaini, Evra and Pogba and I had photos with them,” Martinelli explained in an interview with FourFourTwo, as cited by Diario AS.
“Why didn’t I sign for United? They never made me an offer, so I went back to Ituano and did my job.
In 2018, he also had the opportunity to enjoy at the academy of Barcelona. “I went in November 2018 and I was training in La Masía for two weeks.
“I was not lucky enough to meet any of the players of the first team because it was the international break. I could not see Messi.
The Brazilian strikes also acknowledged that he was slightly overwhelmed with the facilities of both clubs. “Everything in Europe was new to me and I was impressed with all the things they had in these great clubs: the gym, the number of pitches.”
Martinelli was called up by Brazil national team manager Tite to complete preparatory training for the 2019 Copa América last year.