Chelsea defender Thiago Silva has tipped Arsenal duo Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli to impress at the World Cup. Brazil kick-off their tournament opener against Serbia as they look to clinch the nation’s sixth title.
The country’s previous World Cup win came 20 years ago, and the 38-year-old has identified the Gunners pair as two players who can propel Brazil to glory once more. Speaking to the Mirror, Silva revealed how impressed he has been with Jesus’ and Martinelli’s form for Arsenal.
He claimed that they’re both set to play a key role in Tete’s side when called upon, shining a light on the fearlessness and arrogance which they bring to the Brazil side. Silva said: “You can see the connection they’ve had this season with Arsenal – it’s a big reason they’re top of the Premier League.
“Jesus, we’ve known about his quality for a long time, but Martinelli is really showing what he’s about,” the Blues defender added. “He’s playing without fear, and if he gets the chance to play, I don’t think it will faze him, and he’ll just do what we know he can do. I think all attacking players at the top level need that little bit of arrogance – that they know they can do something special – and he has that.”
Silva could be set to play a key role in taking the pressure off Martinelli’s shoulders in the World Cup after the Arsenal star’s call-up to the tournament was labelled a ‘joke’. Brazil boss Tite opted for the 21-year-old, who only made his international debut earlier this year, over fan-favourite striker Gabriel Barbosa.
Martinelli has never started a competitive fixture for his nation, and he’s yet to score or assist. He also didn’t appear in either of Brazil’s final pair of friendlies ahead of the World Cup either.
Speaking on Os Donos da Bola, Neto lashed out at Tite’s decision, claiming that Martinelli has not done enough to warrant a place in the squad over Flamengo striker Barbosa. As quoted by the Mirror, the former Brazil star said: “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. 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,” Neto added, 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!”
Neto’s furious rant didn’t stop there either. He aimed a dig at Jesus, questioning the Arsenal striker’s record in front of goal. The 56-year-old added: “How many goals has Gabriel Jesus scored in these last games? Oh, none. In the World Cup? Zero. In the qualifiers? Zero. He hasn’t scored in eight games.”