Arsenal star Gabriel Martinelli has responded to a furious Brazilian pundit who blasted his inclusion in Brazil's World Cup squad.
Martinelli's fine form for the Gunners was rewarded with a call-up to the Brazil squad by Tite on Monday, with the 21-year-old set to travel to his first World Cup with his country.
He has scored five goals and provided two assists in the Premier League this term, helping the Gunners to the top of the first division.
But, although many fans were pleased to see Martinelli in Brazil's squad, there was one person who didn't appreciate his selection.
That was former Corinthians and Brazil attacking midfielder Neto, who now works as a pundit in his home country. He told Os Donos da Bola: "This is a shame. A joke! I feel ashamed ... What is Martinelli's story? 33 career goals.
"This is a shame, a lack of respect for football."
He went on: "Calling up Martinelli and not calling up Gabigol [Gabriel Barbosa] is a lack of respect. The biggest shame of all the call-ups.
"Calling up Martinelli shows that you, Tite, shouldn't hold the position you do, because you're not fair to Gabigol.
"The guy [Martinelli] who scores five goals in the season, who walks around the mall here, nobody knows who he is... And not taking Gabigol, the guy scored the goal of the Libertadores title, who scored 29 goals in a season.
"What has Martinelli done in European football? Arsenal are not even in the Champions League. This is a calamity!"
Many fans certainly found the criticism of the 21-year-old unduly harsh, with some suggesting that Martinelli's performances in the Premier League outweigh those of Gabigol in Brazil.
And Martinelli himself has now responded to Neto's comments.
Martinelli on Brazil call-up criticism
Understandably, given the extent of the criticism from Neto, ESPN Brasil felt obliged to find out what the Arsenal star thought of the comments made.
And Martinelli brushed off the criticism, accepting that not everybody will be pleased with his inclusion in the squad over other players.
He said (quotes via Daily Mirror): "I think this is normal. Some people in Brazil don't know me, and it's also normal to say that other players deserved to be there.
"But I'm pretty cool about it. I think this is normal.
"I know what I'm doing at my club, I know my ability and I know what I can do. And you can be sure that I will do my best for the Brazilian team, in whatever I can help the team, I will help.
"It will be a great experience to me."
Martinelli will hope to fire Brazil to a record-extending sixth World Cup in Qatar, with Selecao's first group stage match taking place against Serbia on November 24.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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