‘Biggest shame. Nobody knows who he is’: Ex-Brazil star’s explosive rant on Arsenal youngster’s selection for FIFA WC


Brazil announced their FIFA World Cup squad on November 7 that saw a number of surprises thrown by manager Tite. While Liverpool’s in-form forward Roberto Firmino – who has scored six goals in 12 Premier League appearances for the club this season so far – missed out on the place in the final squad, 39-year-old Dani Alves was selected as Neymar leads the side in the marquee tournament that begins on November 21.

However, former Brazil international Neto, who represented the side in 26 matches (including appearances in the Olympic Games), was not too pleased with the selection of Gabriel Martinelli, the 21-year-old Arsenal striker who made his international debut only this year. Martinelli has three caps with Brazil so far and Neto feels that the youngster’s call-up was the “biggest shame of all.”

Furthermore, the former Brazilian international insisted that Gabriel Barbosa (also known as Gabigol) should have been picked instead of the Arsenal youngster. Barbosa plays for Brazilian club Flamengo.

“This is a shame, a joke! I feel ashamed! Not because of Dani Alves’ story. What is Martinelli’s story? 33 career goals. This is a shame, a lack of respect for football. Doing this with football shows that you don’t deserve the position you are in. Calling up Martinelli and not calling up Gabigol is a lack of respect,” Neto told Brazil’s Os Donos de Bola.

“The biggest shame of all the call-ups. Calling up Martinelli shows that you, Tite, shouldn’t hold the position you do, because you’re not fair to Gabigol. The guy [Martinelli] who scores five goals in the season, who walks around the mall here, nobody knows who he is… And not taking Gabigol, the guy who scored the goal of the Libertadores title, who scored 29 goals in the season.

“What has Martinelli done in European football? Arsenal are not even in the Champions League. This is a calamity!”

Brazil will open their account in the World Cup against Serbia on November 24; they are placed in Group G alongside Switzerland and Cameroon.