The nap is set aside this time Emiliano Martinezwho appears in a charming hotel room that the Argentina national team occupies in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, in socks and flip-flops and greets each of those present and then sits down to chat for a long time about football, his career, his emotions, his World that is around the corner and also of the children’s book that is about to publish.
“When we come back from this tour, we miss the month of October and nothing else. I was only talking about it with my brother, who in October we have nine or ten games with Aston Villa from here to the World Cup, which are going to pass very quickly. because we’re enjoying this tour with the guys, because it’s the last one, “he relaxedly tells Clarione, the 30-year-old goalkeeper preparing to play the first friendly match in the United States this Friday against Honduras at Hard Rock Stadium.
With the freshness of a cartoon, but with an overwhelming self-assurance, the drawing speaks stripped of structures and with sincerity on the tongue in one hand in the unmissable hand in the bowels of the bunker of The scallop.
-It will be your first World Cup, do you prepare in a special way?
-I said that this year I would prepare myself as I had never prepared in my life, but when you play so many games it is more a question of recovery and fear of not getting injured. There is no time for anything now. Now someone gets injured for four or six weeks and is already half a foot away from the World Cup. It is normal for the player to be afraid. I take care of myself more than ever. I try not to touch the bread. I win a game and want to drink a Coke but I don’t. These are things I am changing to have as little risk of injury as possible.
-There were games up to a week before the World Cup, does this have an impact on the player’s head?
-We played on 12 (November) with Brighton away and 7 against Manchester United at Old Trafford and now they changed us and we played 8 with United and 13 with Brighton. And I say “the fucking mother I have one day less to get to Qatar”. There are almost seven or eight days to go until the first game. I’ll see how I fare by that date and then decide whether to play the last game or not, depending on how I feel at the time. But then you are already thinking about how to play the first World Cup game.
-How do you imagine a World Cup?
-It is the most that can happen to one as a player. If you ask me what you are thinking, I don’t know because I have never experienced it. I want to arrive in Qatar with all my teammates and enjoy the moment. Prepare your debut, take the field and hear what a World Cup is. It gets closer and closer and with every game I cut short, I think: “I’m preparing for the World Cup”. I keep improving more and more because I think I have to do well for the national team.
-Do you think you cut better because you focus on the national team?
-The focus is on it. Obviously I have a lot of work and responsibilities in my club. But every time I take a shortcut I think I have to prepare myself in the best way for the World Cup, as well as helping my team. I play it in every game.
-When you were a child, did you expect the World Cup every four years?
-Yup. I cried when we lost to Germany on penalties. In Russia, in the elimination with France, I was on the pitch with my brother and a friend and I promised them that I would play in the next World Cup. I told them: “The next one I have to face”. And now every time I remember it I think I do it. But there is still a long way to go, there is a long month of competition.
-A couple of years ago in a note with Clarín you said that you would be the goalkeeper of the national team and that you would never go out again. Where do you find so much security?
-Since childhood. I always knew it could be. From the age of 13 I knew I could become the goalkeeper of the national team. Growing up, I prepared myself more and more. And when I got the chance, I knew I wasn’t going to let him through.
-Listening to you gives the feeling of being born to be the goalkeeper of the national team.
Yes, I prepared for it. You can play well at Arsenal, Aston Villa or Barcelona, but sometimes in the national team it is tough. And I’m made for the national team.
-Is it more complicated to establish yourself in a club or in Argentina’s goal?
They are totally different things. In a team you are looking for stability and being in the best league in the world. I could have gone elsewhere and stayed in the English league. Coaches come and go, you are in a country that does not have your culture … And when you are in the national team you play for your family and for an entire country. When I come to the national team I am relaxed. I’m looking forward to Friday’s game to play with my people. And they give me the energy to play. The most exciting match for me in the national team was against Italy at Wembley because a final was played with my national team in the country where I have lived for 12 years. It was very exciting for me. When I’m in the national team I feel unbeatable.
-You are the bearer of great mental strength. Is it already available in one or can it work?
-It’s concentration. I work a lot with my head. Many can tell you that you are good in penalties or one-on-one or in the air. Every archer has a fort. If you ask me, my strength is mental work. I work a lot with a psychologist to always have the right mind when playing games. I have two or three hour meetings the day before each game. This helps me stay focused and my mind doesn’t clear up. It helps me do what I have to do even if there are a hundred thousand people screaming your name or a hundred thousand people prostituting you. My goal is the same, it’s the game.
-The Messi we see from the outside is a leader, a guide and a person who is very smiling when he arrives in the national team, how is Messi behind closed doors in the locker room?
-I have known him for two or three years and he is a super humble guy. Surprise everyone. He comes here and laughs and has fun as much as we do. I come from a lot of games, from stress and I come here and I am relaxed, on vacation with friends. And that’s what he feels too. And when it comes to competition, he is an animal. He helps us all to be animals like him. He requires a footballing level that cannot be reached, but he demands the most of you. He helped me be a better goalkeeper. How? I don’t know, but he pushes me to be the best version of myself to help him win.
-They are like friends on vacation, but at the same time with the responsibility of bringing the national team to the top. Was that what decompressed the pressure?
-That generated the union. Nobody pouts here. He’s coming in and seeing friends you haven’t seen in three months. You spend a week on vacation, but when it comes to competing, one defends the other. One has fallen and the other ten help him get up and you can see him on the pitch.
-There is a lot of enthusiasm with this national team and for many Argentina is a candidate in Qatar. Does the group take on this candidacy, does it talk about it or does it not even touch on the subject?
-No. Let’s talk more about how little is missing. It has never been said: “Hey, if we get through the group stage we will play against these …”. There isn’t that much pressure here. There are so many expectations for how well we are playing, for beating the European champions as we did, because we remained unbeaten for I don’t know how many games and because we have the best in the world. It’s normal. We, from the inside, know that there is much more, that we have to work and also have a lot of luck to win the World Cup, only one wins it.
Dibu’s book is coming for the little ones
After the boom his saves have had against Colombia in the semi-final of Copa América 2021, Martínez has become the idol of the little ones who flooded the parade nets by imitating the goalkeeper of the national team. His diver is the best-selling among children, who have him among the most loved of the Argentine rose after Lionel Messi. So much so that Dibu has passed Clarione which is about to launch a book dedicated to the most purretes.
-Do you like that guys take you as a reference?
-I love. Also, I had many meetings with Penguin Publishing to make a book. It’s done, it’s The Dibu Story. It will be published on 1 October in all bookstores in the country and is aimed primarily at children of this age. He has cartoons and the story of my life to become the goalkeeper of the Argentina national team.
-Does being a reference for the little ones force you to have a certain behavior and take better care of yourself with the things you do?
-I behaved in such a way that the boys then imitated my gestures … I can’t take care of myself on the pitch because I’m full of adrenaline from a semifinal or a final and I want to win. The adrenaline goes to your head. Off the pitch I try to be an example, in my social networks there will never be provocations. I’m not that character. I am a hardworking and super humble guy who goes out of his way for his family. On the pitch I seem arrogant and those who don’t know me might think so. But I’m really someone else. The problem is that on the pitch I want to win the game.
Martínez and his family’s influence to become “a drug addict”
How did Emiliano Martínez manage to be a goalkeeper? Mar del Plata himself explains: “My brother and my father sent me in goal. My brother was always number nine and I was very competitive. So my old man said” whoever loses has to make milk in the afternoon. “With my father and my brother it was about competing, competing, competing. I became addicted to competition, I became addicted to winning. “
And, he adds, that this connects him directly with what he feels when dressing up as an albiceleste: “As much as it is for a Coke or a latte. I have never played for money in my life nor will. I come here and The last thing I want is to win a peso, I want to defend the colors as I did as a boy. That’s why every time I step onto the pitch I have that bond with people. I do it as if I were 10 in Mar del Plata. “
-What do you feel when you enter the field with the national team?
I am entering the temple of my dreams, the tunnel of heaven. And I feel like I have to play a football match with my family. I do it for them and for the Argentine people. After so many years in Europe I feel at home. I enter the field with the national team championship and I say that this is where I was born. And I play as before at the club of San Isidro de Mar del Plata or at Independiente.
-When you have to go back to the countryside and now people recognize you on the street, do you feel comfortable?
-Is cute. I like to go out and be with friends and sometimes I forbid you to do a couple of things. I want to go to Sacoa with my baby because I have been doing it all my life, but now all the children come who want the photo and I can’t say no. And I spend an hour photographing myself and I don’t see what my 4 year old son is doing. Maybe he is on the street. I avoid doing some things that I have done before, but I like it because I left Buenos Aires empty-handed and to come back and be who I am today is a source of pride. That’s why every time I defend these colors it’s something very sentimental.
Dibu Martínez’s ping pong
-An archer: Oscar Ustari.
-A striker you don’t want to face: Mohammed Salah.
-A striker you want to face: Lautaro Martinez.
-An idol: my brother.
-A moment in your career: the transition from Independiente to Arsenal.
-The funniest teammate: Agostino Marchesino.
-And the most serious: Nicola Tagliafico.
-A rescue: the penalty against Yerry Mina.
-A dream: the gold one
Miami, United States. Special delivery.