The omission of Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino from Brazil’s World Cup squad continues to spark debate in his homeland after Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli was one of those who got the nod ahead of him.
Martinelli has been in brilliant form for the table-topping Gunners this season, scoring five goals and adding two assists for Mikel Arteta’s men as they provide stern competition to Manchester City in the Premier League title race.
The Arsenal winger was known to be challenging Flamengo’s Gabriel Barbosa and Firmino for a place in the squad.
And UOL journalist Gabriel Carneiro has explained why the Gunners man got the nod.
Carneiro said: “From what we have of information, the last decisions that Tite made for the list were to call Daniel Alves or a fifth defender. In this case he chose Daniel Alves, and either Gabriel Martinelli or Firmino.
“Tite ended up seeing more qualities in Gabriel Martinelli to make this call-up.
“Gabigol is a player who had his opportunity, he had continuity. But he never really captivated the coaching staff,. They always understood that other players did better in the roles he does.
“What we heard is that Tite fought to make Firmino fit in, but ended up preferring Martinelli.”
Tite confirmed that Martinelli‘s ‘sharpness’ and ability to be aggressive on the wing was a big factor behind his selection.
Gabigol is also a strong goal presence, having already scored 29 goals as Flamengo’s season draws to a close.
Firmino takes snub on the chin
Firmino, meanwhile, responded to the snub in typically classy fashion.
The Liverpool striker said in an Instagram post: “Passing by to say thank you for all the lovely messages. The World Cup is a dream for every player and with me, it wouldn’t be any different.
“Yesterday [Monday], things didn’t go the way I imagined or dreamed for my life but I can look back and have a grateful heart to God that he has already allowed me to live that dream as well as so many others. You, Lord will keep me in perfect peace. Him whose purpose is firm, because he who trusts in you (Isaiah 26:3).
“I take this opportunity here to pay my respect and congratulate all those summoned. It was, is and will always be an honour to defend my country, especially with the gift that the Lord gave me. I stay here confident that God has the best for me and hoping that hexa comes. ‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ (Jeremiah 29:11). #Jesusyouareenough.”
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