Argentina created history after winning the 2022 FIFA World Cup title at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar on December 18 against France. In a nail-biting final, one of the players who shone throughout with his incredible performance was Emiliano Martinez. The 30-year-old goalie has been branded as the penalty shootout specialist of the Argentinian team and rightfully so. He was awarded the Golden Glove award for his brilliant skills in his first FIFA performance. Emiliano Martinez of Argentina is now synonymous with skilfully saving penalties indeed.
Argentina’s incredible 2022 FIFA World Cup win against a seasoned team such as France can be partly credited to Martinez’s fantastic second penalty save taken by Kingsley Coman, which became the deciding factor in Argentina’s glorious win. The game finished at 3-3 after 90 minutes. What followed next for an additional 30 minutes was a thrilling display of talent as both the teams were awarded penalty kicks. Argentina scored on all four of their spot kicks while France’s second and third kicks were saved by the rival team.
While Lionel Messi is undoubtedly the bona fide star of the tournament, one cannot undermine the team’s favourite goalkeeper’s contribution to this legendary win. Upon winning, he told the press that it was destined to happen and that it was indeed a dream come true for him and the team.
While Martinez attracted controversy after his seemingly lewd gesture upon receiving the Golden Glove award, here are some interesting facts about this once-underrated star of international football
Facts about Emiliano Martinez that you should know
Emiliano Martinez’s early years
Damián Emiliano Martinez was born on September 2 1992. He is also known by the nickname, ‘Dibu’. He started his sports career at the young age of 16 as he began playing for the Club Atlético Independiente in 2008, before joining Arsenal in 2010.
In his emotional address after winning the 2022 FIFA World Cup, he said that he comes from a humble background and hence dedicates this win to his family.
Martinez comes from a sporting family as his uncle bagged an Olympic silver medal in the pole vault in 1980, while his father has been the Argentine Street Luge champion in the nineties.
On the personal front, he married a Portuguese businesswoman Amanda ‘Mandinha’ in 2017, and has two children — a son, Santi and a daughter, Ava.
Rise to prominence
He played in the Premier League for the first time in May 2012 as an Oxford United player. Before this, he was just a fringe player. He was loaned to play for clubs including Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham United, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Reading.
It was only in 2020, that he was noticed when he played for Arsenal in the Premier League season, where he was praised for his goalkeeping skills. Impressed with his performance, Aston Villa won him in a bid and signed a four-year contract with him.
How did Martinez become Argentina’s No.1 goalie?
Copa America 2021 catapulted Martinez to the dizzying heights of success as the No.1 goalie of Argentina. His impressive performance at the shootout helped Argentina win the coveted title after 1991.
(Main and featured image: Emiliano Martinez/Instagram)