BARRIO – We’re just recently learning about Emi Martinez’s incredible journey from English football’s fourth tier to the World Cup Final.
In 2010, at the tender age of 17, he made the decision to leave Argentina and join Arsenal’s youth team. “I saw my brother and mother cry, saying: Please don’t go. But I had also seen my dad crying late at night because he could to pay the bills. So I had to be brave.”
He made his senior debut aged 19 on loan at the fourth-tier Oxford United before making his Arsenal debut in the League Cup in September 2012. That October, Martinez was in goal for Arsenal’s iconic 7-5 win over Reading in the League Cup, in which Arsenal came back from 4-1 down at half time.
A loan at Sheffield Wednesday followed before he finally made his Champions League and Premier League debut for Arsenal in 2014-15. However, after Wojciech Szczesny and David Ospina returned to fitness, he finished the season back in the Championship at Rotherham United.
He would make just six Arsenal appearances in the next four seasons as his loan adventures took him to Wolves, Getafe and Reading.
In 2020, an injury to Bernd Leno meant he had his first opportunity at a run of games as Arsenal’s No.1 and he took it, starring in the FA Cup final win against Chelsea. Martinez had only played 15 games in 10 years for Arsenal. He’d waited for his big moment.
With Leno reinstalled as first choice, Martinez joined Aston Villa in September 2020, and in his first season, he kept a club-record 15 clean-sheets to quickly become one of the standout keepers in the Premier League. His country then took notice.
Last June, he debuted in a World Cup qualifier vs. Chile before becoming a star at the Copa America. He saved three penalties in a semifinal shootout win over Colombia and won the Golden Glove award after a clean sheet vs. Brazil in the final.
In Qatar, he has continued to excel. He saved two penalties in the shootout against the Netherlands and kept a clean sheet against Croatia. With the colours of the Argentina flag newly painted in his hair, it’s easy to see why fans and teammates love him.
Very few players have waited for their big chance like Dibu Martinez. Now 30, he is a Golden Glove winner and World Cup champion!
PUT SOME RESPECT ON HIS NAME!