Emiliano Martínez has enjoyed the last 12 months during which he left Arsenal for Aston Villa, made his debut for Argentina and then went on to win the Copa América with his national team in July.
Despite the restrictions put in place by the Premier League, the goalkeeper and Emi Buendía were given permission by Aston Villa to join La Albiceleste squad for the ongoing international break.
EL PAÍS interviewed the custodian, where he was quizzed over various topics, including his decision to leave Independiente for Arsenal in 2010.
After the first two years with the Gunners’ academy, the 29-year-old spent more time away on loan before finally leaving the north London club for Aston Villa last year.
When asked why he left Argentina more than a decade ago, Martínez said: “Arsenal came to look for me and Pepe Santoro [his coach in Independiente’s youth team] told me that the train only passes once in a lifetime. My family and my agents thought the same.”
“So, the decision was more for them [family] than anything else. I didn’t want to go. I did not regret it, but I wanted to play in Independiente. For a while I thought: ‘If I stayed, in two years I will make my debut [with the first team]’.”
EL PAÍS then asked if he decided to join Arsenal to help his family. Responding to that, the keeper explained: “We lacked a little financially. I did it more for that than for sports [sporting reasons]. I knew I could get to Independiente’s first team The club trusted the youth team goalkeepers.”
During his time at Arsenal, the current Aston Villa man struggled to become the first choice keeper at the Emirates.
On his time at the English capital, the South American said: “I did not know the language. And Wenger told me that the goalkeeper had to speak in English. When something gets into my head, I do it. In a year I learned to speak English and I even got my driver’s license.”
“I went from loan to loan, went through six different loans before I was established. I went through Spain and the Championship. Very good experiences in the second division in England, but very bad in Getafe. It was the lowest point of my career.”