Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez played a significant role in Argentina’s march towards their Copa America trophy.
Now that the victory is in the rearview mirror and the World Cup qualifiers are next on the agenda, the 28-year-old spoke to Olé to look back on the experience in the South American tournament.
One of the first questions that Martínez answered is his experience playing alongside Lionel Messi through these sets of fixtures.
“He made the players excited.” Me too, and I’m a goalkeeper. I wish I had played every game in a league with him, and he would be a much better goalkeeper. Did you see when you see Dragon Ball Z when you’re a kid? I am Vegeta, and when I played with Messi, I became a Super Saiyan,” Martínez said.
The Aston Villa goalkeeper touched on a story in which Messi showed his leadership and advised Martínez on how he could help the squad, particularly in a match against Uruguay.
“In a match with Uruguay, he told me ‘help us in the centers that they are brave.’ He says more things as captain in general. He helped us all. When he takes the penalty, he could have gone directly to the middle, but when he came to greet me, I said, “one of them, I am going to stop you,” and the next, I cut it. That generates ten. He is a captain, and everyone would want him,”
One of the final questions that Martínez discussed in the interview is anything surprising about being Messi’s teammate for the tournament. The 34-year-old can be a larger-than-life figure for those who don’t know, but Martínez states that Messi is down to earth and far from having a big ego.
“How normal he is, what a partner. We have played the trick, Marchesín, Musso, and I against Messi, Paredes, and De Paul, practically 20 or 30 nights we played the trick. He is a normal kid, a great guy, and someone who really wanted something with the National Team more than anyone else with the National Team. And he transmitted that to us, to the new litter, the desire that the animal had to win something, how could we not want to win something ourselves?” Martínez said.