Diminutive by English Premier League and European standards, 5 ft 9ins Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez was nicknamed ‘The Butcher’ at Ajax. Months into his first season with the Red Devils, the nickname has stuck.
A younger Martinez had hopes of becoming the next Maradona or Lionel Messi.
Hence, the 25-year-old Argentine isn’t always flattered when it’s suggested that his role at United is to hack down Premier League forwards (via The Mirror).
Despite that, Erik ten Hag’s defensive signing is living up to the nickname given to him by his former teammates at Ajax.
Same nickname, two stories
Many moons ago, Martinez plied his trade as a gifted playmaker wearing the No.10 jersey for hometown clubs Urquiza and Athletico Libertad.
The No.10 jersey in any South American team is given to the maestro with the talent to pull all the strings and orchestrate magical play sequences.
“I don’t know why at Ajax they called me ‘the Butcher’, says Martinez. “I don’t even remember who gave me the nickname. It must be because I’m aggressive in the way I play my game. I did once make a vacuum (a cut of Argentine beef) in my house, so in one way, the nickname suits me! But the truth is that I do go to each challenge like it is going to be my last one.”
An Old Trafford favourite
Martinez, aware that his progress as a player has come in leaps and bounds, says:
“Having said that, I have greatly improved the way I read the game and how to make decisions. I have also grown in the way I pass the ball. And I want to continue improving absolutely everything. There is no limit for me. But if I want to go higher, I have to work for it – and that will always be the reality.”
He has cemented himself as a highly effective and unforgiving backline player in a short period.
It is no stretch of the truth to say he has been instrumental in United’s resurgence under Ten Hag.
The Argentine defender’s performances have endeared him to the Old Trafford faithful.
He became an instant cult hero following his challenge on Mohamed Salah during his third appearance for the club.