Liverpool secured a place in the Carabao Cup Final on Thursday night with a dominant performance against a poor Arsenal side, but one player from the losing team stood head and shoulders above the rest.
After such a resilient display from Arsenal in the first leg, fans were left disappointed by the team’s performance at The Emirates. Liverpool were always favourites to advance to the final, but it was the lack of hunger and effort showed by The Gunners that surprised most fans.
Despite a lacklustre performance from the majority of Arteta’s men, Jurgen Klopp singled out the rising Brazilian starlet, Gabriel Martinelli, in his post-match interview.
The Liverpool manager was asked about facing Chelsea in the final, but instead chose to ignore that line of questioning momentarily to praise the youngster:
“Martinelli by the way…everybody should remember that name. Outstanding player.”
It wasn’t the first time Klopp had highlighted the youngster as he also spoke about the Brazilian after a Premier League clash against Arsenal in 2019. After the match, Klopp told his club’s official website: “[Van den Berg] played an incredible game. That’s really difficult to deal with these guys.
“Martinelli’s pretty much the same age but he’s a talent of the century, he’s an incredible striker, so it’s really difficult.”
But Klopp isn’t the only person to underline the youngster’s incredible talent, fellow countryman Ronaldinho heaped praise on the Arsenal star back in 2020.
The Brazilian legend claimed that Martinelli reminded him of former international teammate Ronaldo. Being compared to such an icon is one of the highest forms of praise a young player could receive, and the compliments were even more incredible when you consider that Ronaldinho was talking about Martinelli when he was just 18-years-old.
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.”
An incredible highlight reel posted to YouTube earlier this month shows just why these footballing figures are going out of their way to praise the Brazilian.
If you haven’t had the chance to see much of Martinelli, check out the three-minute clip below that justifies the hype around the Arsenal man.
As can be seen in the short video, Martinelli has the makings of a future superstar. The Brazilian’s quick-thinking and electric bursts of pace combined with his rapid footwork make him a nightmare for defenders, and when you combine this with his lethal finishing it’s clear to see the youngster is the real deal.
Now it just remains to be seen whether Mikel Arteta can help the 20-year-old take his game to the next level, and reach his full potential.