Emi Martinez: Aston Villa Goalkeeper Makes Brilliant Contribution to Lionel Messi’s Record Goal vs Panama

Emi Martinez: Aston Villa Goalkeeper Makes Brilliant Contribution to Lionel Messi’s Record Goal vs Panama

Martin Moses
  • Emi Martinez has quickly risen to prominence over the last three years with his heroic displays for Argentina
  • The custodian has helped Lionel Messi's side to win three trophies in the space of one year
  • Apart from his saves, he has also been adept at helping his teammates score freekicks

Emi Martinez is currently indispensable in the Argentina national team setup. He is easily the team's most important player after Lionel Messi.

Argentina has for so long struggled without a reliable goalkeeper, with memories of Willy Caballero's howlers still fresh. But the emergence of Martinez at Arsenal during the Covid-19 pandemic gave the Albiceleste a new lease of life.

Emi Martinez, Aston Villa, Lionel Messi, Panama, freekick
Argentina national team goalkeeper Emi Martinez. Photo by Marcelo Endelli.
Source: Getty Images

It is no coincidence that his coming to the national team has since seen Argentina and Lionel Messi win three international trophies, most important of all, the World Cup trophy.

His antics, especially during penalty shootouts, might make him unpopular to some people, but he gets the work done. As a new video online shows, the 30-year-old also plays an integral part whenever his team has freekicks in dangerous positions.

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Argentina vs Panama

Against Panama, Argentina got a freekick late in the game with the usual suspect, Messi, stepping up to try and double Lionel Scaloni's advantage after Thiago Almada had opened the scoring 10 minutes earlier.

Now, knowing Messi's record from dead-ball situations, the Paris Saint Germain star doesn't need help to whip in his freekicks. He often strikes the ball as sweetly as Barrack Obama used to deliver his speeches during his active political life.

Messi ended up scoring the freekick to claim his 800th goal for club and country. However, Martinez played a crucial part in destabilising Panama's wall before the freekick was taken.

As the video shows, Martinez directly positioned himself opposite the wall and gave instructions to Argentina wall, led by Lautaro Martinez, on how to move to block the view of Panama's goalkeeper Jose Guerra.

The wall seemingly heeded to Martinez's advice, with Messi's freekick flying past the wall and straight into the back of the net.

How Martinez blocked De Gea's view

It is not the first time Martinez has contributed to his team scoring a freekick. Sports Brief previously reported that he went viral after he contributed greatly to his team's second goal against Manchester United in November.

Normally, it is usually the opposition goalkeepers who line up their defenders when facing a free kick.

As David de Gea arranged his wall to thwart Digne's effort, however, Martinez counteracted his efforts by planning Aston Villa players to block De Gea's vision.

In the viral video, de Gea is seen pacing on his line as he tells his defenders where he wants them to stand. Martinez, who by now is close to the halfway line, had also positioned himself to see where his opposite number was standing.