Arsenal's Gabriel Martinelli activated full Ronaldinho mode as Brazil thump Bolivia

Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli forced one defender into an early retirement as his national side pummelled Bolivia 4-0.

The Brazilian has been making quite the name for himself on English soil this season having turned in some excellent performances for the Gunners.

Pace, flair and sheer excitement seem to be the name of the game when it comes to this boy and it’s no wonder he’s caught the eye of Brazilian manager Tite.

Martinelli turns on the style

Having impressed on his debut against Chile last Thursday, Martinelli got a second chance to show what he could do as he was subbed on for Phillipe Coutinho in the 53rd minute. He did not disappoint…

Dani Alves picked up the ball in the 74th minute and pinged a delightful 35-yard pass to the 20-year-old. Martinelli smartly controlled the ball with his knee and then flicked it into the space in front of him before running onto it.

Jairo Quinteros of Inter Miami charged out to intercept him but over committed – and oh did he regret it – as Martinelli just rolled by him with an ingenious 360-degree spin before dinking the ball over the flailing keeper and beyond the far post.

You can bank on Ronaldinho being the lad’s hero because that was the great man reincarnated. If only he had converted that cheeky chip into the far corner, it would have been some way to open his account with the national team.

A brace from Richarlison, along with goals from Lucas Paqueta and Bruno Guimaraes culminated in a resounding 4-0 win for the Selecao, who topped their World Cup qualifying group and even remained unbeaten across all 17 games.

Anticipation amongst fans has again begun to build after what has been quite the barren spell for the world’s most successful international football team, having failed to make a World Cup final since they last won the competition 20 years ago. Not to mention suffering that horrifying 7-1 defeat at the hands of Germany in 2014.  

But with the progress Martinelli has made, the resurgence of the ‘Little Magician’ Coutinho, the red-hot form of Vinicius Jr and let’s not forget the sheer brilliance of Neymar– it seems Brazil are once again a very frightening prospect going into the World Cup in Qatar.

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