GABRIEL MARTINELLI has lifted the lid on his infamous Manchester United trial as he revealed he trained with the Red Devils every year for four years.
United eventually passed up the chance of signing him, leading Arsenal to snare the 18-year-old away from Brazilian fourth-tier outfit Ituano last summer.
Following his move to the Emirates, Martinelli has become one of the top prospects in world football, with the forward chipping in with ten goals and four assists in 25 games.
And the teenager has now spoken of how both United and Barcelona snubbed the opportunity to snap him up, before admitting it was a “no-brainer” to join Arsenal.
Speaking to FourFourTwo about his trial with United came about, he said: “There was a partnership between Ituano and Manchester United which allowed me to go there every year, for four years, to train with boys my age or older.
“That was nice, because I got a first taste of what English football was like. I met Marouane Fellaini, Patrice Evra and Paul Pogba, and made sure I got a photo with all of them.”
Asked why he didn’t join them, Martinelli simply stated: “They didn’t make an offer, so I returned to Ituano and kept doing my job there.”
Commenting on his trial at Barca, he added: “Yes. I went to Barcelona in November 2018, stayed at La Masia and trained there for two weeks.
“That time, I wasn’t fortunate enough to meet any of the first-team squad because it was the international break – so no Lionel Messi!”
Martinelli then revealed how his move to Arsenal materialised, as he said: “Ituano were competing in the Sao Paulo state championship last year, and when I started to stand out, my agent said he wouldn’t tell me about any bids so I could totally focus on my game.
“But eventually he had to step up the negotiations, so he informed me there were two options. It was a no-brainer to pick Arsenal.
“I wanted to join one of the biggest clubs in Europe, and they were the ones who really showed interest in me.”
Martinelli is set to start against Portsmouth in the FA Cup fifth round at Fratton Park on Monday night, with the player looking to net his first goal since his stunning solo strike against Chelsea in January.
To read the full interview with Gabriel Martinelli, buy the new issue of FourFourTwo magazine which is in the shops from Thursday, March 5. For an exclusive Sun subscription offer, which includes three issues of FourFourTwo for £3 and free download, go to: https://www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/thesun/