Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez has revealed his secrets during penalty shootouts that came in handy when he saved a Bruno Fernandes penalty back at Old Trafford in 2021.
The two sides met in September 2021 when Aston Villa took the lead in the 88th minute through Kortney Hause. The Red Devils seemed destined to lose until they were given a reprieve deep into stoppage time when the referee awarded a penalty.
There was a moment of hesitation, with both Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo looking to take the penalty kick that would have restored parity.
Fernandes won the debate, but the playmaker blasted his effort high.
The penalty kick was partly delayed as Martinez was accused of trash-talking Fernandes and Ronaldo in an effort to rile up the pair.
As Fernandez stepped up to kick the ball, Martinez was also dancing on the goalline.
In an interview with Ian Wright and Oriana Sabatini, the Aston Villa shot-stopper revealed that contrary to popular belief, he was not disrespectful towards Fernandes and Ronaldo.
He was simply looking to create chaos so as to distract the United stars – his antics clearly worked.
The World Cup winner said, “I saw Ronaldo disappointed for not taking it, and I thought there is tension here. I said: come on, you take it now.” Martinez added, “He (Ronaldo) doesn’t want to shoot. I said to Cavani: why is Ronaldo not shooting?”
“It’s not even trash-talk. I create chaos. It was the 92nd minute of the game, I have to distract him in some way because they’ve got everything to win. Bruno, he didn’t miss a pen for 25 pens or something.”
Martinez revealed that his dancing on the goalline was advice passed down to him by Lionel Messi. As per Martinez, Messi told him that movement distracts strikers from picking their spot.
“I asked Messi and he said when you move all around the place like that, they don’t like it. I was dancing not because I want to dance. I never practised that. I don’t know how to do it now, that just came out in the moment.”
“The strikers they said “we pick a spot”, and the quality they’ve got they can put the ball in the spot. So if you’re moving around so you create chaos, actually we see different spots.”
He remarked that Messi pointed out to him during a private chat that if a goalkeeper does not move, a striker’s job to pick a spot and find it is made easier.
Who could forget @emimartinezz1's antics when Bruno Fernandes missed this penalty? 😂
But did you know it was inspired by a conversation with Lionel Messi…?!
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It seems that Messi’s advice was sound. Martinez has cultivated a reputation for being one of the best goalkeepers at keeping out penalties. During the World Cup, his contributions were valuable on the Albiceleste’s way to winning football’s most coveted trophy.