Gabriel Martinelli has revealed he “couldn’t even talk” to his own family after breaking down in tears following his life-changing call-up to Brazil’s World Cup squad for Qatar. The Arsenal forward was forced to hang up the phone on his loved ones amid the ecstasy as his red-hot early-season form in north London saw him gatecrash Tite’s 26-man travelling party for the tournament.
Martinelli has been one of the standout performers for Mikel Arteta’s table-topping side this season having scored five goals and registered two assists in 13 top-flight matches.
The jet-heeled winger is now just one goal shy of equalling his best-ever Premier League goal tally as he now looks to make a stellar impact in Qatar with the Selecao, who are the favourites to lift the trophy.
“I’m very happy, it’s one of the most important moments in my life and in my family’s life as well – I’m buzzing, I’m so excited to go there and be part of this team,” Martinelli said.
“I cried a lot, I couldn’t even talk and I was with my family and on the phone but I needed to turn the phone off and call them later because I couldn’t even talk.
READ MORE: ‘Special’ Arsenal target handed World Cup call-up following Edu transfer meeting
The Samba starlet, who Arsenal signed from Ituano for a fee of £6million in the summer of 2019, has three caps for Brazil and was joined in the squad by club team-mate Gabriel Jesus.
Central defender Gabriel Magalhaes missed the cut, however, as Juventus’ Gleison Bremer pipped in ahead of the 25-year-old despite his crucial winner at Chelsea last weekend.
Brazil boss Tite has since explained his decision to select Martinelli, who he believes is capable of playing in multiple positions across the frontline.
“Gabriel Martinelli’s role: Outward, winger, aggressive. He’s been one of the highlights at Arsenal, at the top of the Premier League. A player of individual plays, of transitions in speed. Who was with us in two call-ups, who’s been maintaining this high level,” Tite said.
“In this competition, we say that these athletes compete at a high level. Others could have been called up, and it would have been fully fair. And there are arguments for others that could be called, that’s also true. They are choices.
“Choosing an athlete that he is… within the characteristics of the team and the model, we need sharp players on the sides. Incisors on the sides. That’s how the team came together. So having these players, which is the case with Martinelli as well.”
Brazil’s star-studded attacking roster also includes Antony of Manchester United, Neymar, Real Madrid duo Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo plus Richarlison and Raphinha.
The Selecao begin their Group G campaign against Serbia on November 24 before taking on Switzerland (November 28) and Cameroon (December 2).