Aston Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez opens up about ‘never wanting to join Arsenal’

Photo: AFP

A year after parting ways with Arsenal, Argentina’s Copa America 2021 hero, Emi Martinez, has revealed why he spent a decade at the Emirates Stadium.

The Argentina goalkeeper left Independiente to sign with the English club in 2010. In September 2020, he then joined Aston Villa.

In an interview with Spanish outlet El Pais, the 29-year-old said that the reason he arrived at the Emirates Stadium was the hefty pay and lifestyle that would benefit his family.

“Arsenal came to look for me and Pepe Santoro [a coach at Independiente] told me that the train only passes once in a lifetime,” Martinez revealed. “My family and my agents thought the same. So, the decision was more for them than anything else.”

“I didn’t want to go. I did not regret it, but I wanted to play in Independiente. For a while, I thought: ‘If I stayed, in two years I will make my debut.’ My family] lacked a little financially. I did it more for that than sports.”

Martinez was not a well-known name in footballing circles until he single-handedly won Argentina the Copa America title in early 2021. The shot-stopper showcased his talent throughout the tournament.

His consecutive saves in the penalty shootout in the semi-final against Colombia and performance in the final helped Lionel Messi get his hands on his first international trophy.


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