Monday, July 22, 2024

Arsene Wenger sends class message to Argentina World Cup hero Emi Martinez

Arsene Wenger has sent a heartfelt message of congratulations to Emiliano Martinez ahead of Sunday’s World Cup final.

Argentina’s No.1 has played a pivotal role during his side’s run to Sunday’s showpiece, particularly in the quarter final against Holland when he made two superb saves in a tension-filled shootout.

Martinez’s rise to the pinnacle of world football has been far from straightforward, despite making a major breakthrough as a teenager when he was snapped up by Arsenal.

The 30-year-old conceded four goals inside 45 minutes on his senior debut and was loaned out on six separate occasions during his formative years at Arsenal.

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Wenger championed Martinez’s ability but was unable to offer him the regular first team football he craved.

Martinez eventually broke into Arsenal’s first team during ‘Project Restart’ following an injury to Bernd Leno and starred in memorable FA Cup and Community Shield victories.

Upon Leno’s return to fitness, however, Martinez was sold to Aston Villa for £17million but he has since cemented his status as one of the Premier League’s best goalkeepers.

Martinez is now starring on the biggest stage of them all and Wenger is delighted to see one of his former charges fulfil the potential he identified a decade ago.

‘Sometimes he went out on loan and didn’t even play,’ Wenger told The Mirror. But it didn’t stop his belief and motivation. When I see him now play knowing what he went through I admire even more his achievement. Well done Emi, we are proud of you.’

Martinez and his teammates have come a long way since their shock defeat against Saudi Arabia in the group stages and the negativity that greeted that result has provided extra motivation, according to the charismatic goalkeeper.

‘Mexico the first half was a bit sloppy everyone wanted us to lose everyone wanted us to lose. We’re all fighters and we’ve got 45million Argentineans all behind us.

‘We feel the crowd on the streets every time we play we feel like we are at home we are so happy to have them.’

 

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