After 10 years at Arsenal Emi Martinez completed a remarkable rise by winning his first major trophy with the club.
Since arriving in 2010 Martinez has been fighting to be No.1 and cement his position in the squad. The Argentine finally got his moment in the spotlight after Bernd Leno’s injury against Brighton The Arsenal goalkeeper seized his opportunity and has been unstoppable capping a remarkable run of games by winning the FA Cup.
Martinez was overcome by emotions as Arsenal claimed their record extending 14th FA Cup trophy on Saturday by beating Chelsea 2-1. Speaking on Arsenal’s FA Cup triumph Martinez said: “At the end of the game I couldn’t talk I was too emotional.
Everyone says when you work hard you get your rewards – and I think I did today. I worked really hard in this club for opportunities like this. I couldn’t be prouder.”
At the age of 17 Martinez arrived at Arsenal with his family struggling financially, who at times did not have enough money to feed everyone. Martinez said: “I remembered the days me and my brother ate and not my parents, so I knew exactly what they were going through.
“So when Arsenal offered to buy me, I had to be brave. I was 17 – years –old and I said ‘yes’ for my parents.”
Believing he could succeed, Martinez never game up on his ambition of becoming a regular player for the Gunners despite being sent on six loan spells.
For most of his time at the Emirates he had been on the side-lines and was loaned out to Oxford, Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham, Wolves, Getafe and Reading. Over recent weeks Martinez has been a revelation excelling under Mikel Arteta’s improvements.
Praising Martinez Arteta said: “The way he trains every day, and behaves and has been behaving since he’s been at the club has been phenomenal.”
The Argentine is Arsenals longest serving player having spent a decade at the club. Before the restart of the season Martinez astonishingly had only played 25 matches for the Gunners. During lockdown Martinez kept to an intensive training regime so he was fully equipped for the return of the season.
The Argentine said: “Normally when a goalkeeper resumes training you get bruised bones if you haven’t been diving or hitting the ground for a long time.
“But as soon as we returned to action I was feeling great because of all the work I’d put in.”
Next season Arsenal boss Arteta will have to make the hard decision on whether to start Martinez or Leno. Prior to Leno’s horror knee injury, the German had been a contender for player of the season having saved the Gunners on numerous occasions.
With both goal keepers approaching their prime the pair will battle it out to be No.1. It is vitally important to have two top class goal keepers so the second choice keeper is ready to step in at any moment in case of injury or loss of form.
A classic example was during the 1970s when Ray Clemence and Peter Shilton were fighting to be No.1 for the England National team. Manager Ron Greenwood would alternate the keepers.
Martinez proved this by having a great run in the team and achieving FA Cup victory for the Gunners.
Having established himself at Arsenal Martinez will surely have his eye on being Argentina’s No.1 for next Summer’s Copa America.
Featured Image Credit – Transfermrket