Emiliano Martinez of Argentina, the winner of the Golden Glove at World Cup 2022 | Sunday Observer

Emiliano Martinez of Argentina, the winner of the Golden Glove at World Cup 2022

19 March, 2023
Emiliano Martinez at the World Cup Final
Emiliano Martinez at the World Cup Final

Emiliano Martinez is a professional footballer who plays for the reigning FIFA World Champions Argentina National Team and for Premier League club Aston Villa as a goalkeeper. He contributed significantly for his country Argentina to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Martinez was awarded the ‘Golden Glove’ for the best goalkeeper of the FIFA World Cup for his scintillating performance.

The FIFA named Martinez the ‘Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper’ as well in 2022.Martinez had earlier represented Argentina in seven junior international matches, playing on under-17 and under-20 levels. He earned his first senior cap for the Argentina team in 2021 and helped his country to secure the 2021 Copa America, winning the 2021 Copa America, ‘Golden Glove,’ keeping a clean sheet in the final.

Birth and Youth

Damian Emiliano Martinez was born on September 2, 1992 in Mar del Plata in Argentina. Martinez trained at Independiente’s youth ranks before moving to Premier League club Arsenal in 2010. At Arsenal, he initially served as understudy, being loaned to various clubs, before breaking into the starting line-up in 2019, featuring in the Premier League and helping the club win a FA Cup and FA Community Shield. In September 2020, Martinez moved to fellow Premier League club Aston Villa. In his first season at the club, he kept a club record of 15 clean sheets in the Premier League.

Personal Life

Martinez has been married to Amanda “Mandinha” since 2017 and they are blessed with a son, Santi, and a daughter, Ava.

He is nicknamed “Dibu,” which is the abbreviation of Dibujo, Spanish for Drawing, after an animated character in the Argentine telenovela Mi familia es un dibujo. Martinez was given the nickname as a young player by former goalkeeper and goalkeeper coach Miguel Angel Santoro at Club Atletico Independiente, at a time when the series was highly popular.

On December 22, 2022, after winning the 2022 FIFA World Cup with the national team, Martinez was given a welcome reception at Las Toscas resort, in his native city of Mar del Plata. According to the local press, there was an attendance of more than 150,000 people, both locals and tourists.

The gloves worn by Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, in the nail-biting penalty shootout with France at Qatar’s World Cup final last year, were auctioned on March 10, 2023 for USD 45,000 in aid of a children’s cancer hospital.

“USD 45,000 for the Dibu gloves to help the Garrahan boys!” the Argentine Pediatric Foundation said on Instagram, referring to the Oncology Ward of the Garrahan Hospital, the main Pediatric Hospital in Argentina.

The auction was held online and featured Martinez via video-link from his home in England. The gloves were worn by Martinez as he faced the penalty shootout against France in the final in Qatar, with Argentina winning 4-2, granting Lionel Messi’s team the championship after drawing the match 3-3 in extra time.

“When they gave me the option to donate the World Cup gloves, I didn’t hesitate, it’s a good cause for the boys,” said the goalkeeper during the event. Martinez had autographed the inside of the gloves when announcing the donation in February.

“The World Cup finals are not played every day, (the gloves) are special. But it helps a child much more than me having them hanging in a frame in my house,” he said.

International Career

Martinez was called up to the Argentina senior squad to replace Oscar Ustari to face Nigeria in June 2011. Later, he received his second senior call up against Germany and Ecuador in October 2019, yet he was an unused substitute in both friendly matches.

Martinez made his international debut on June 3, 2021, in a 1-1 draw with Chile in a 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification match. He subsequently made his competitive debut in a major tournament on June 14, 2021 once again in a 1-1 draw against the same opponent in his side’s opening match of the 2021 Copa America at the Estadio Olimpico Nilton Santos in Brazil.

In the 57th minute, he saved a penalty from Arturo Vidal, but he failed to prevent Eduardo Vargas from scoring on the rebound. On July 6, Martinez saved three spot kicks in a 3-2 penalty shootout victory for Argentina over Colombia in the semi-final of the tournament. He went on to finish the tournament with a clean sheet in the 1-0 victory over Brazil in the final. Martinez was the winner of the 2021 Copa America’s Golden Glove award.

On June 1, 2022, Martinez kept a clean sheet as Argentina won 3-0 against reigning European Champions Italy at Wembley Stadium in the 2022 Finalissima.

FIFA World Cup 2022

Martinez was included in Argentina’s squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and played in each of his team’s games. He saved two penalties in a shoot-out against the Netherlands in the quarter final, helping his team make it to the last four.

In the final, Martinez saved a shot from a 1 on 1 with Randal Kolo Muani in the last minute of extra time to force the match to a penalty shootout. He later saved a penalty from Kingsley Coman in the penalty shootout, helping Argentina win the tournament via a 4-2 shootout victory after the game had ended in a 3–3 draw after extra time.

Yassine Bounou, Thibaut Courtois and Emiliano Martinez were announced as the three finalists for ‘The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper Award 2022.’ The accolade recognises the most outstanding performers in the men’s game from the period of August 8, 2021 to December 18, 2022.

Martinez won the Golden Glove award for his performances in the tournament. It is awarded to the best goalkeeper of the tournament. The award was introduced with the name Lev Yashin Award in 1994 and renamed in 2010.

Martinez created controversy after winning the Golden Glove during the 2022 FIFA World Cup award ceremony; he put the trophy to his groin and pointed towards the audience, and then emphatically waved it in the air.

Martinez said he had done this gesture due to the French fans booing him. He also led a conga-line of Argentine players at the locker room making fun of French player Kylian Mbappe. During the celebrations in Buenos Aires, fans presented him with a baby-doll with the face of Mbappe.

Later, Argentina goalkeeper Emi Martinez revealed what he told PSG star Kylian Mbappe following Argentina’s World Cup win and the stopper has now come clean on exactly what he told the forward. He said, that he told Kylian Mbappe to be “proud” despite being on the end of a heart-wrenching World Cup defeat.

The Aston Villa star was key to his nation claiming the World Cup in Qatar after saving penalties from Kingsley Coman and Aurelien Tchouameni following a 3-3 draw after extra time. And all that was after Mbappe netted a hat-trick and Martinez appeared to be stoking the fires of a fledgling rivalry with the France forward.

The goalkeeper called for a minute’s silence for Kylian Mbappe in the dressing room in Qatar and was then spotted with a doll depicting the PSG striker during the celebrations in Buenos Aires. Despite that, Martinez appeared to have consoled the Frenchman immediately after his nation’s success as Mbappe sat disappointed on the pitch.

He shared some words with the 24-year-old and has now told exactly what he said to TyC Sports: “I told him to get up and to look forward. He shouldn’t be on the floor, but proud of the game he had played, which is the truth. He scored four goals on me. The one who should be on the floor is me.”

It is not the first time that Martinez has clarified his actions after the 2022 FIFA World Cup. He also recently refuted claims that he was intentionally mocking Mbappe.

Martinez showed his class after a dramatic penalty shoot-out decided the World Cup winner, “I held it [baby doll] for like two minutes and I threw it away, that’s all,” the Aston Villa stopper said. “How can I make fun of Mbappe? He scored four past me. Four goals in a final! He must think I am his toy baby! I have huge respect for Mbappe.”

Whilst Martinez has attempted to smooth things over with Kylian Mbappe a few months after Argentina’s memorable World Cup success, it appears that he remains unconvinced having hit out at the goalkeeper’s “futile” celebrations upon his return to PSG.

Arsenal Club

Martinez started his club career playing for Independiente’s youth side. In 2009, shortly after his 17th birthday, he was invited to trial at Arsenal, and was initially offered a youth contract.After impressing in a trial and being approved for a work permit, Martinez was formally registered as an Arsenal player in July 2010.

After injuries to Ryan Clarke and Wayne Brown, and the termination of Connor Ripley’s loan, Martinez went on emergency loan to Oxford United, making his debut in the Football League in their final game of the season against Port Vale in League Two on May 5, 2012; Port Vale won 3-0.

Later, Martinez was named on the Arsenal substitute bench for their fixtures away at Stoke City on August 26, 2012, and against Liverpool on September 2, as cover for the injured Wojciech Szczęsny and Lukasz Fabianski, respectively. On September 26, 2012, he made his Arsenal debut in a 6-1 home win against Coventry City in the third-round of the League Cup.

He made his second Arsenal appearance in the following round in a 7-5 win away at Reading. Martinez subsequently transferred to Championship side Sheffield Wednesday on an emergency 28-day loan on October 15, 2013. He made his debut for Wednesday on November 23, against Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Town. Martinez’s loan was eventually extended until the end of the season.

After returning to Arsenal, Martinez was an unused substitute as Arsenal won the Community Shield on August 10, 2014, with a 3-0 win over Manchester City at Wembley Stadium. He made his debut in the Champions League soon after, helping Arsenal defeat Anderlecht 2-1 in the group stage. He then made his Premier League debut as a 2nd half substitute, replacing the injured Szczesny against Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium on November 22, 2014.

With injuries to backup goalkeeper David Ospina, Martinez played his second Champions League game on November 26, 2014, keeping a clean sheet in a 2-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund. His “faultless” performance in the match led to him being named in the UEFA Team of the Week. He made his first Premier League start on November 29, against West Bromwich Albion, and started against Southampton four days later; he kept two clean sheets as Arsenal won both matches 1-0.

On March 20, 2015, Martinez joined Championship club Rotherham United on an emergency loan until the end of the season. He made his debut the following day against South Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday, conceding two added-time goals in a 3-2 home defeat. On August 2, Martinez was an unused substitute as new signing Petr Cech played for Arsenal in the 2015 FA Community Shield, a 1-0 win over rivals Chelsea.

On August 11, 2015, he joined Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers on a season-long loan. After making 15 appearances in the opening months of the campaign, he suffered a thigh injury that kept him out of contention for several months and was unable to regain his starting place afterwards. He spent the 2016/17 season at his parent club, for whom he played 5 games during the campaign, including a Premier League appearance against West Ham United.

On August 2, 2017, he joined La Liga side Getafe on a season-long loan, and on January 23, 2019, he was loaned to Championship side Reading until the end of the season. At Reading, Martínez made his debut on January 29 against Bolton Wanderers, and won the man of the match award against Aston Villa a few days later.

With Bernd Leno being taken off injured during the first half of Arsenal’s defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion on June 20, 2020, Martinez came off the bench to make his first Premier League appearance since the 2016/17 season.

This led to Martinez seeing out the season as first choice goalkeeper at the club and was highly commended for a string of stellar performances, with former Arsenal striker Ian Wright describing him as “commanding” and as having played “brilliantly” during his extended spell in the team.

On August 1, Martinez was selected to start in the FA Cup Final against Chelsea, he went on to make some crucial saves to help Arsenal win their 14th FA Cup; after lifting the trophy he was visibly emotional and reduced to tears.

Martinez started in the Community Shield clash against Liverpool on August 29, which Arsenal won on penalties. Following the match, there was much speculation that Martínez would leave the club with Bernd Leno returning and the player himself stated that he either wanted to stay at the club and be first-choice keeper or leave on a permanent basis.

With reported interest from a number of Premier League and foreign clubs, including Aston Villa and Brighton & Hove Albion, Martinez was left out of the squad to face Fulham on the opening day of the league season.

Aston Villa Club

On September 16, 2020, Martinez transferred to fellow Premier League club Aston Villa in a deal worth up to £20 million. He signed a four-year contract. On September 21, 2020, Martinez made his debut for Aston Villa, saving a penalty from John Lundstram in a 1-0 home win against Sheffield United.

In his first season at Aston Villa, Martinez equalled Brad Friedel’s club record for clean sheets in a Premier League season, with 15. He was also named Aston Villa Supporters’ Player of the Season.

On January 21, 2022, Martinez signed a three-year contract extension which will see him contracted to Villa until the end of the 2026/27 season. On July 27, ahead of the new season, Martinez was named one of the two Aston Villa vice-captains, alongside Diego Carlos.


His individual honours include: The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper in 2022; FIFA World Cup Golden Glove in 2022; Copa America Golden Glove in 2021; Aston Villa Player of the Season in 2020/21; Copa America Team of the Tournament in 2021.

He was also instrumental in bringing honour to Argentina: The FIFA World Cup in 2022; Copa America in 2021; CONMEBOL–UEFA Cup of Champions in 2022.His accolades for his club Arsenal: FA Cup in 2019/20; FA Community Shield in 2014, 2015 and 2020.

(The author is an Associate Professor, International Scholar, winner of Presidential Awards and multiple National Accolades for Academic pursuits. He possesses a PhD, MPhil, and double MSc. His email is [email protected])