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Ronaldinho tips Gabriel Martinelli to emulate Brazilian legend Ronaldo

By Vincent Ashitey
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Ronaldinho has predicted that Gabriel Martinelli can emulate another Brazilian legend and become the best player in the world.

Former World Cup star Ronaldinho says the Arsenal teenager has got all of the attributes to follow in the footsteps of ex-Brazil superstar Ronaldo.

Ex-Inter Milan and Barcelona forward Ronaldo became one of the all-time greats during a glittering career and Ronaldinho can see similarities in 18-year-old Martinelli.

Ronaldinho said: “We as Brazilians are very excited about him and his future. It is one thing to have the talent - but another at the age of 18 to have the confidence.

“He reminds me of Ronaldo his first season in Europe he scored 30 goals and people were thinking: ‘who is this 18 year old Brazilian kid?’

“He wanted the ball, he would run at players, there was no fear no matter what players or team he was playing against - and I see that similar attitude in Martinelli.

“He just wants to be on the ball and score goals. Ronaldo went on to be the best player in the world - and that can also be the aim of Martinelli.”

Martinelli has already become the first Arsenal teenager to score ten goals in all competitions since Nicolas Anelka and goes into Monday’s FA Cup tie at Bournemouth having scored twice in his last two games.

Arsenal plucked Martinelli from relative obscurity last summer when they signed him for just £7m and now Real Madrid are already keeping tabs and Ronaldinho believes a full Brazil senior cap is just around the corner.

Ronaldinho sees similarities between Martinelli and Brazil legend Ronaldo (Image: Reuters)

Ronaldinho added: “I am sure that his first Brazil cap is very close - he is ready. Historically the national team has never been concerned with age. Ronaldo was playing for Brazil at 17 - and more recently Neymar and Jesus have played an important role when they were only teenagers.

“If you have the ability and the talent then you will get the chance - and the world can see that he (Martinelli) has the talent.”

Meanwhile, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has insisted he is ready to stand by error-prone Shkodran Mustafi despite the Germany defender’s habit of making high profile howlers.

Arteta wants to strengthen his defence with a move for Flamengo defender Pablo Mari but Mustafi could still feature at Bournemouth and praised the centre half’s attitude despite another costly mistake at Chelsea last week.