The Brazilian starlet has burst onto the scene since arriving in English football, sparking talk of a possible move being made to Spain at some stage
Gabriel Martinelli is revelling in the success he is enjoying at Arsenal, but admits that he was snubbed by Barcelona before making a move to Emirates Stadium.
The 18-year-old’s potential was spotted by those at Camp Nou before the Gunners joined the chase for his signature.
A trial spell was taken in with the Liga giants, but no offer was put to him.
Martinelli, who ended up signing for Arsenal in the summer of 2019, told Marca of his experiences with Barca: “Shortly before the Sao Paulo Cup I spent a few days training in Barcelona. I spent 15 days there.
“Barcelona invited me to train with them in La Masia but afterwards they didn’t want to do anything with me, they didn’t tell me anything … I went back to Ituano, I played Copinha and then I came to Arsenal.”
While Martinelli was passed up by the Blaugrana, he did get the chance to work with Ansu Fati – who has made his own senior breakthrough in 2019-20.
Martinelli added on those he played alongside in Catalunya: “They were all very good, I took full advantage and gave my best.
“To see how they train, know the structure of the club, the city … it was a dream come true.
“I even trained with Ansu Fati and we became friends. He helped me a lot there and is now playing in the main team. He is a boy who deserves everything that is happening to him. He is super humble and welcomed me really well there.”
While embracing the opportunity to train with Barcelona, Martinelli admits to having grown up wanting to follow in the footsteps of a Real Madrid legend.
“My idol is Cristiano Ronaldo,” said the Gunners starlet.
“I admire him very much for the strength of will he has, for the way he works and for everything … for the individual and collective awards he earns.
“He is a guy who does not conform, he always wants more. That is what I want for myself: to always be conquering things. He is a great example of that.”
With Martinelli having registered 10 goals through 21 appearances for Arsenal, it has been suggested that he may be given the chance to fill Ronaldo’s boots at Santiago Bernabeu.
He is, however, adamant that no contact has been made by those in the Spanish capital.
“No, nothing has come to me,” said Martinelli.
“I am focused here doing my job at Arsenal and my head is here.”