From being just a random guy in his homeland to being the winner of the Golden Glove in the FIFA World Cup 2022 and most probably the reason why Argentina won their 3rd world cup and Messi lifted the trophy he desired and deserved the most. Behind all this, there is a story of Grit and determination from England’s 3rd tier to the World Cup winner.
Journey of Emiliano Martinez
Emiliano Martinez’s journey was never easy, leaving his native country Argentina and going to England to join Arsenal because of poor financial condition, Emi went on loan 6 times n 7 years and even once played in La Liga for 1 season for Getafe.
In 2020, During the match against Brighton Arsenal first-choice goalkeeper Bernd Leno suffered an injury and that was Emiliano Marinez’s first game in the Premier League since the 2016-17 season. Emiliano Martinez performed very well with the team and in the FA Cup final against Chelsea in 2020 he was the man saving the goals at the back and had his first-ever hero moment in his career. After the match, Emiliano Martinez burst into tears.
Still, Arsenal preferred Bernd Leno as the main Goalkeeper and Aston Villa knocked on the door to have the 27-year-old Argentina Goalkeeper. In his first season, Emi maintain 15 clean sheets and was the player of the year for Aston Villa. Lionel Scaloni, the Argentine manager was keeping an eye on him.
Scaloni included Emi in his squad in 2019 but Emiliano Martinez stayed on the bench and didn’t get any game time. Emiliano got his chance against Chile in a 1-1 draw just a few weeks before 2021 Copa America. Emiliano Martinez just conceded 2 goals in 6 games played, saving Argentina against Colombia in the semi-finals by saving 3 penalties and clutching at big moments with his mind games and dancing celebrations and also went on to maintain the clean sheet in the final against Brazil.
Emiliano Martinez played a crucial role in letting Argentina win the Copa America and ending 28 years trophy drought and giving Messi the moment to win his first-ever international trophy. Emi was the goalkeeper of the tournament and stamped his place in the World Cup as the first-choice Goalkeeper.
Emiliano previously said in his interviews that his main aim is to win the world cup and he will give his life for Messi to make him lift the glory. In the first match of the 2022 World Cup, Argentina lost to Saudi Arabia and Martinez conceded 2 goals in just a couple of minutes. Later on, kept the clean sheets against Poland and Mexico,
Now, comes the savior Martinez against Australia saving the last minute Australia chance with his left bicep by stretching his body out to stop the attempt, the clutch moments are yet to come in the penalties against the Netherlands where Emiliano Martinez saved 2 consecutive penalties and helped his team to go through into the semi-finals and went on maintaining the clean sheet in 3-0 win against Croatia.
At the grandest stage of them all and the biggest match of his career, Emiliano Martinez was the reason that Argentina lifted the World Cup after 36 years thanks to his 120+3rd minute one on one saved against Muani which could have sealed the match for France by 4-3 but Emiliano’s left leg stretch was enough to save the World Cup for Argentina.
But after saving the match and taking it into penalties, Emiliano Martinez saved 1 penalty and made Tchuameni miss his penalty by playing mind games and went to win the best goalkeeper award along with the World Cup for Messi and Argentina.
Emiliano Martinez might not be the best goalkeeper overall but in terms of stepping up at big games and saving penalties with good judgment and mind games, currently, Emi Martinez is the best.