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Emi Martinez reveals why he is playing with a smile again

Emi Martinez has shared the reason behind his joyful demeanor on the field, expressing that playing with a smile has been absent from his experience “for a long time.”

The 31-year-old goalkeeper has enjoyed significant success over the past year, winning major honors with Argentina at the Copa America and the FIFA World Cup in Qatar alongside Lionel Messi. Additionally, Martinez has played a crucial role in Aston Villa’s European qualification and their unexpected challenge for the Premier League title.

Martinez has told ESPN when asked to pick out highlights from the last year: “It’s difficult to choose. Last year’s season is unrepeatable. It’s difficult to finish a year better than that. But this year too, at the club and national team level. To be the goalkeeper with the most minutes without conceding goals in the history of the national team and being in the middle of a season fighting for the title with Aston Villa, which is a club that no one thought would be so high, is a double merit. I’m enjoying football, which is something I haven’t done in a long time.”

Martinez experienced incredible success with club and country in 2022

Martinez added on seeing Villa sat third in the Premier League: “Many people did not have us in the top six because of playing in European competition and since our squad is not that of the big six – no one gave us the chance to get into the top six. Yes, top seven or eight, because we finished the season well and we entered the Conference League, but everyone said that with a European competition we were going to fall. But, the truth is we are not just maintaining. We still have losses, it will be difficult to win the games, but we have a coach who does not let us relax – and we compete. And in the end, when you compete a thousand times every game, you win more than you lose.”

Quizzed on which trophy he would most like to land in 2024, Martinez said: “It’s very difficult (to think about a title). I always go step by step. Obviously, if you ask me which one I plan to win, I want all three. But it doesn’t depend on just me, it depends on injuries – you’re not playing in a World Cup that’s just seven games. You have to play some games, you have to see how your team is. We are going to fight for all three, the FA Cup, the Conference and the Premier, but I can’t tell you which one we are going to do better in because there are very good teams in Europe and injuries are something you cannot control.”

Aston Villa is set to play matches against Sheffield United, Manchester United, and Burnley to conclude the calendar year. Meanwhile, Argentina is eagerly anticipating the defense of their Copa America title in 2024.

Ethan Dempsey
Ethan Dempsey
Ethan is a lifelong football fan. When he is not obsessing over the Premier League games, Ethan likes to read fantasy tomes, watch football documentaries and waste hours upon hours on video games.
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