“He deserves to win” - Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli picks 2024 Ballon d’Or winner

Bhargav
Arsenal striker Gabriel Martinelli
Arsenal striker Gabriel Martinelli

Arsenal striker Gabriel Martinelli has picked his compatriot - Real Madrid striker Vinicius Junior - for this year's Ballon d'Or. The Brazilian played a key role in Los Blancos' three trophies in the recently concluded season.

Despite missing a few games due to injury, Vinicius bagged 24 goals and 11 assists in 39 games across competitions. He struck six times and provided five assists - including the second goal in Madrid's 2-0 UEFA Champions League final win over Borussia Dortmund - 11 games in their triumphant campaign.

The 23-year-old also contributed 15 goals and six assists in 26 games in Los Blancos' triumphant La Liga campaign. He struck three times in two games in Madrid's victorious Supercopa Espana campaign as well.

Vinicius' exploits have made him one of the favourites for this year's Ballon d'Or. Ahead of Brazil's friendly with Mexico on Saturday (June 8), Martinelli has no qualms about his compatriot's credentials for the prestigious award. He said (as per ESPN Brazil):

''It's a great pride to be playing with him, experiencing day to day life, seeing the special and deserving boy that he is. We are very happy to see a Brazilian shining. In my opinion, he deserves to win the Ballon d'Or. A pleasure to be sharing the field."

Vinicius is expectedly a part of Brazil's attack for the upcoming Copa America 2024 later this month.


How Gabriel Martinelli fared for Arsenal in the 2023-24 season

Arsenal attacker Gabriel Martinelli
Arsenal attacker Gabriel Martinelli

Arsenal attacker Gabriel Martinelli has had a decent 2023-24 season with the Gunners, bagging eight goals and five assists in 44 games across competitions.

Although Mikel Arteta's side only won the FA Community Shield, they pushed Manchester City all the way in the Premier League title race, losing by two points on the final day of the season. It was their second straight second-placed league finish, extending their 20-year Premier League title drought.

Martinelli contributed six goals and four goals in 35 games in the league. In the UEFA Champions League - where the Gunners reached their first quarterfinal in 14 years - the Brazilian contributed two goals and an assist in six games.

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