CaughtOffside’s Top 50 Footballers In The World: #42 – Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich & Spain)

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Bayern Munich and Spain midfielder Javi Martinez.

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At the age of just 24, midfielder Javi Martinez has already achieved a great deal in the game, continuing his impressive rise since signing for Athletic Bilbao when he was just 17 years old.

The Spain international made a name for himself at Bilbao as a defensive midfield playmaker, becoming one of many of this incredibly talented generation of midfielders coming through in Spanish football, showing the superb ability to control the flow and tempo of a game with his passing in the middle of the park.

Martinez was also used as a defender for Bilbao, but German giants Bayern Munich saw his potential as being best used in midfield when they signed him for £33million last summer – a record Bundesliga transfer fee. After achieving all he could realistically achieve with Bilabo, helping them to the Europa League final in 2012 where they were beaten by Atletico Madrid, he made the move to the Allianz Arena to become part of what would be the best team in the world in 2013.

Martinez played a crucial part in Bayern’s phenomenal treble success, formering an excellent midfield partnership with Bastian Schweinsteiger. The pair have become renowned not only for their passing and creativity, but also for their excellent work rate in pressing their opponents, which was highlighted particularly as they stifled Barcelona’s midfield of Xavi and Iniesta in the Champions League semi-finals, helping Juup Heynckes’ side to a thumping 7-0 aggregate victory over the Spanish champions.

His incredible achievements with Bayern should help him become more of an established member of the Spanish national team, for whom he has only made ten appearances due to an immense competition for places in this all-conquering national team. Still, his role as a squad player for Spain has also seen him taste success in the World Cup and European Championships to add to his trophy haul at club level.

Martinez’s skills should progress further with former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola taking over at Bayern next season, as he is perfectly suited to the style of play that his new manager adopted so successfully during his time at Barca. With his guidance and the new arrivals to come at Bayern, Martinez is sure to become one of the game’s greats and win plenty more silverware for both club and country.

He may still yet to be at the level of fame of Barcelona and Spain stalwarts Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets, but Martinez is certainly starting to catch the eye more and more, and deserves recognition as one of the best players in the world.

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