Tuesday, November 29, 2022

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Gabriel Martinelli has the ‘arrogance’ to succeed for Brazil, claims Thiago Silva

Brazil captain Thiago Silva claimed that the “arrogance” Arsenal star Gabriel Martinelli displays in his game is just what all elite attacking players need.

The Chelsea defender praised his national team-mate ahead of Thursday’s World Cup opener against Serbia after an impressive international call-up.

Although his inclusion in the squad came as a bit of a shock, Martinelli has been in brilliant form with the Gunners this season, contributing five goals and two assists as Arsenal top the table at Christmas.

“He plays without fear and if he gets the chance to play I don’t think it will worry him and he will just do what we know he can do.

“I think all top-level offensive players need a little bit of arrogance – that they know they can do something special – and he has that.”

Martinelli was perhaps a surprise addition to a Brazilian frontline that includes the likes of Neymar, Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo and Gabriel Jesus.

However, Blues defender Silva has played up his younger team-mate’s chances of a starring role for the Selecao in Qatar and believes he won’t find the world’s biggest stage daunting.

It remains to be seen whether Martinelli will be able to force his way into the starting XI in a star-studded line-up regardless of who makes it onto Tite’s team roster.

Martinelli has capped just three caps for his country but clearly impressed his manager enough to earn the right to add to that tally on the big stage.

And Silva has also spoken about his country’s desire to bring back a World Cup medal from Qatar to its talismanic striker Neymar in what may be his final appearance at the competition.

Neymar has a chance to become his country’s top scorer. He needs two goals in the tournament to match Pele’s long-standing record for Brazil and could even surpass the global legend in Qatar.

After making his debut for the Selecao a month after the 2010 tournament in South Africa, Neymar has only represented Brazil in two competitions, the first of which ended in heartbreak after a back injury cut short his 2014 season in Brazil.

But Brazil return to football’s biggest competition with more than regular support this time and appear to be serious contenders.

“If it’s his last World Cup then we have to do everything we can to win for him. Every player representing Brazil at the World Cup is under pressure, but Neymar’s pressure has always been different.

“He’s had the hopes of a nation on himself since he was a teenager and that’s a great expectation for everyone.

“He’s always managed that well though – look at what he’s done on the pitch. He is a special player and a special person.”

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