Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli omits Lionel Messi as he names dream 5-a-side team

Arsenal's Gabriel Martinelli omits Lionel Messi from his dream five-a-side team.

Arsenal star Gabriel Martinelli included Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo but left out Lionel Messi of his dream five-a-side team.

The Messi vs Ronaldo GOAT debate is one that will continue to divide opinions. Martinelli, albeit inadvertently, has indicated his preference for the latter.

He was asked by a user to name his ideal five-a-side team during a Q&A session on Twitter. Martinelli responded by naming Gianluigi Buffon, Carles Puyol, Ronaldo, Ronaldo Nazario, and Ronaldinho Gaucho.

His response can be seen in the tweet below:

BuffonPuyol CR7R9Ronaldinho…

Martinelli, 21, has seemingly grown up idolizing the Portugal icon. The Brazilian said he 'couldn’t believe' when he finally came face-to-face with the Portuguese when the Gunners took on United on April 23. Speaking after the full-time whistle, he said via Soccer Bible (h/t Evening Standard):

“When I saw Ronaldo in the game against United, I couldn’t really believe he was there. I saw him and I was like, ‘Wow this is Ronaldo.’ I’m a bit shy so I didn’t say anything, just shook hands with him. But to play against my idols shows that I’ve got there.”

The Gunners won the game 3-1 at the Emirates despite Ronaldo's 34th-minute strike for the visitors. Martinelli came on as a substitute in the 64th minute and helped his team to a crucial win in their bid to secure the top-four position.

The Gunners and the Red Devils eventually finished fifth and sixth, respectively, at the end of the 2021-22 campaign. The Gunners currently sit atop the Premier League table with 21 points from eight league games. Martinelli's exploits down the left flank have played a part in that.

The Brazilian, who is believed to be on Chelsea's radar, has scored thrice and assisted once in eight league games this season.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are having contrasting seasons

Ronaldo is going through one of the lowest points of his career and is struggling to feature in manager Erik ten Hag's starting XI at Manchester United.

The Portuguese was an unused substitute on the bench in United's 6-3 Premier League defeat at the Etihad on October 3. Messi may not have featured in Martinelli's five-a-side team but he is setting Ligue 1 alight this season after a rough start to life in France.

By his own admission, the Argentina icon had a 'bad time' at Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) during the 2021-22 campaign. Under new manager Christophe Galtier, the former Barcelona star has registered seven goals and eight assists in 12 games across competitions.

If he continues this way and impresses with Argentina in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Messi could win his eighth Ballon d'Or award next year. Ronaldo, in comparison, has five.

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Edited by Ritwik Kumar
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