HomeSportsMental games you didn't know Emi Martinez played in

    Mental games you didn’t know Emi Martinez played in

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    Chaos has followed Emiliano Martinez throughout his senior career.

    The Argentine goalkeeper has evolved into a national hero following his antics at the 2022 World Cup. Whether it’s the shootout heroics or the huge save to deny Randal Kolo Muani in the dying embers of a thrilling final, Martinez played a key role in ensuring Lionel Messi completed his ultimate fairytale.

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    The 30-year-old has been the talk of the town in the aftermath as he was awarded the Golden Glove for his performances in Qatar before he proceeded to place the trophy on his crotch in a lewd celebratory gesture. Because why not?

    He’s quite the character. I suppose you have to be with that haircut. Nevertheless, it turns out that the World Cup final was just one of several absolutely bonkers games of football that Martinez has been involved in throughout his career.

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    Here’s a reminder of the others.

    Damian Martinez

    Conceding five in victory? Vibes. / Scott Heavey/GettyImages

    Martinez initially joined the Gunners on a youth deal in 2010 before he signed his first professional contract in 2012.

    His debut arrived in a 6-1 victory over Coventry in the Capital One Cup and he continued in Arsene Wenger’s cup XI for Arsenal’s fourth-round tie away at Reading.

    The Gunners were 4-0 down after 37 minutes and a babyfaced Martinez had thrown a couple into his own net. Not ideal. Nevertheless, Arsenal staged a dramatic comeback in the second period, with their equaliser arriving in the sixth minute of stoppage time.

    Marouane Chamakh then handed the visitors their first lead of the contest in extra time before Martinez conceded his fifth as Pavel Pogrebnyak headed home. Goals from Theo Walcott and Chamakh at the death finished off the most ludicrous of cup ties as Arsenal advanced, but Martinez wouldn’t feature again for the Gunners until 2014.


    Martinez conceded three first half goals against Stoke back in 2014 / BEN STANSALL/GettyImages

    With Wojciech Szczesny injured and David Ospina absent, Martinez enjoyed his first run in the Arsenal side in the winter of 2014. The Argentine kept clean sheets in 1-0 wins over West Brom and Southampton, but his third and final start during this stretch wasn’t quite as fruitful.

    Martinez conceded 19 seconds into the Gunners’ trip to the Britannia as Peter Crouch breached his defences. Bojan Krkic and Jon Walters also got on the scoresheet for the hosts as Arsenal trailed 3-0 at half-time.

    The Gunners attempted to stage a second-half resurgence as Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey reduced the deficit to one, but Callum Chambers’ second yellow card with 15 minutes remaining halted their charge.

    Szczesny was back in the starting XI the following week.

    After starting four Premier League games during the first half of the 2014/15 season, Martinez joined Championship side Rotherham on an emergency loan in March for the remainder of the campaign.

    Barely 24 hours after joining the club, Martinez seemed destined to help the Millers to victory over Sheffield Wednesday on his debut.

    Jordan Bowery gave the hosts their second lead of the game with just three minutes remaining almost immediately after Caolan Lavery had equalised for the Owls. Rotherham were seemingly home and dry, but they inexplicably conceded twice in stoppage time to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Kieran Lee squeezed his winning effort under Martinez in the eighth additional minute.


    A young Arsenal outfit was beaten in a cup thriller at Anfield / PAUL ELLIS/GettyImages

    Martinez returned to Arsenal following several random loan spells in 2019 where he served as Bernd Leno’s second in command for the 2019/20 campaign.

    As a result, the Argentine earned regular minutes in cup competitions and he was between the sticks for Arsenal’s ten-goal Carabao Cup thriller at Anfield.

    Unai Emery was still at the helm as a young Gunners outfit impressed against a rotated Liverpool XI as the two sides each scored five times to take the cup tie to penalties.

    There were no shootout heroics from Martinez on this occasion as Liverpool scored all five of their penalties, while Dani Ceballos missed for the Gunners.

    Neal Maupay, Emiliano Martinez

    Neal Maupay scored a last-gasp winner as Martinez replaced the injured Bernd Leno / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

    The game that changed Martinez’s life.

    Despite conceding a last-minute winner to Brighton striker Neal Maupay, the injury sustained by Leno in this contest meant Martinez became Arsenal’s starting goalkeeper for the remainder of the season.

    He immediately impressed between the sticks as he kept three Premier League clean sheets on the bounce. Martinez also helped the Gunners to FA Cup glory in an empty Wembley as Chelsea were beaten 2-1 in the final.

    The Argentine’s performances at the end of the pandemic-hit 2019/20 season saw him earn a move to Aston Villa in the summer and he would make his international debut in October 2021 after his impressive form continued in the Midlands.

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