Aston Villa’s Emi Martinez makes her Copa dream come true
Martinez, indented to the right, retained his fourth clean sheet of the tournament in Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Brazil at the Maracana Stadium, a result that ended Argentina’s 28-year wait for a major trophy.
Angel Di Maria’s goal in the first half proved sufficient, with Martinez cleverly saving Richarlison and Gabriel Barbosa in the second half. His Villa teammate, midfielder Douglas Luiz, was an unused substitute for Brazil.
Martinez, who only made his senior international debut last month, was later named the tournament goalkeeper.
âThere are no words to explain this moment,â he said.
âIt was a dream that I had since I was a child. I went to Arsenal when I was 16 or 17. After many years of effort and courage, I knew the dream would come.
The victory capped a remarkable 12 months for Martinez, who won the FA Cup with Arsenal before joining Villa on a Â£ 20million deal and claiming a club record equal to 15 clean sheets.
He was only installed as Argentina’s number 1 in the Copa America after Franco Armani tested positive for Covid-19, but continued to play a pivotal role, saving three penalties in the half victory. final against Colombia.
Martinez has been hailed as a “phenomenon” by Lionel Messi, for whom Saturday’s victory ended his own expectation of winning a major tournament with Argentina.
The 34-year-old was mobbed by teammates at the final whistle and Martinez said: âI said I would rather we win it (for Messi) before me. Today we could give it to him. It was what he wanted the most in his life.
Villa will step up efforts to bring the competition and cover Martinez with Lovre Kalinic set to spend the season on loan at Hajduk Split.
The Croatia international hasn’t played for Villa since February 2019 and his exit means Martinez and Jed Steer are the only senior goalkeepers on the club’s books.