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‘I stopped loving football’ – Argentina and Villa ace Martinez reveal how a loan decision saved his career

The 28-year-old barely got a chance to shine with Arsenal and finally put his foot down after another loan spell.

Argentina and Aston Villa star Emiliano Martinez admits he lost his love of football during his long years of inactivity at Arsenal, but eventually turned the corner when he refused to let the club send him more than a loan .

Martinez (28) became a hero for both the club and the country in the period 2020-21, and followed his good debut season with Villa in the Premier League with an unforgettable Copa America campaign when he helped the Albiceleste to the to win the title.

But the goalkeeper also knows what it’s like to suffer for his art, having spent the best part of a decade in North London while barely playing for the first team.

What was said?

According to Martinez, the turning point came for him in 2018-19, when he was ordered back to Reading after enduring at five different clubs at the same time – including a disastrous period with Getafe.

‘I do not think you are preparing not to play; I always thought I had the talent, but at one point in my career, when I was 22, 23 and I was not playing, I took out my first loan to Spain, I only played six games, ”he recalls. Football Daily.

“Then I knew I would have to go back to Arsenal and they would not give me a chance, so I would have to go on loan, so the years were very difficult, at one point I stopped playing football.

“It was something I was worried about, I said to my wife, ‘I know I’m not playing, but I stopped watching football games,’ so it was not an easy place to be. Read in the championship, a league I did not want to be in,

‘I put myself in a position: I have a newborn baby, this is going to be my last loan. frustrations.

“Because I always believed I had the talent, I always believed in myself that I could be one of the best.”

The bigger picture

The native of Mar del Plata joined Arsenal from Independiente while still a teenager after signing his terms in 2009, but he has constantly blocked his way to first-team football through a series of Gunners goalkeepers.

Martinez became his last Arsenal season in 2019-20 with just 14 games for the club in seven seasons, after spending much of it on temporary deals.

Towards the end of the Covid disruptive campaign, he had the opportunity to shine when Bernd Leno was ruled out due to injury and responded with a series of impressive performances between the posts.

But rather than risk another year with sparse opportunities, Martinez decided to move to Villa, where he was always present in their league season and kept 15 clean sheets, while Dean Smith’s men had a comfortable mid-table game. endpoint ensured.

He played every game except one in Argentina’s first Copa America triumph since 1993, but conceded only two goals in six games and was particularly striking for his penalty heroes against Colombia, while stopping three shooting attempts to bring his team to the final.

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