Emi Martinez lifts lid on Arsenal exit after he "fell out of love" with football
Emiliano Martinez has revealed the frank discussion with Mikel Arteta that convinced him to leave Arsenal after a decade with the club.
The 28-year-old completed a £20million transfer to Aston Villa in September, as he finally looks to establish himself as a Premier League No 1.
Martinez ended last season as the Gunners’ first choice keeper, but only after Bernd Leno was injured.
He told the Independent: "I was finally the No 1 and I was ready for it. It took 10 years to get there. You train as a goalkeeper every day, but nobody prepares you for the story of your life.
"Nobody trains you to be frustrated, nobody trains you to cry. What about when you don’t play for four months? Will you keep going or will be you be mentally dead?
"I could’ve done so much more over the years, but finally the world started to see what I’m capable of. I finished on a high and that’s how I always wanted to leave."
The Argentinian shone on the way to winning the FA Cup, before impressing in the Community Shield victory over Liverpool.
Many felt Martinez had done enough to permanently usurp Leno, but Arteta couldn’t guarantee him first-team football, which made up his mind about his future.
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"I thought if I played well that game, I would be No 1, but afterwards it still wasn’t clear who was going to start in the league,” he added.
"I was told that there was a 95 per cent chance I would start against Fulham [on the first day of the season], but I just thought, ‘why not 100 per cent?’ Something didn’t feel right.
"Everyone wanted me to stay, but that’s when I decided to go. The following morning I texted Mikel [Arteta] and told him.
"I thanked him, I said I won these trophies because of the way he trained, the way he changed the team. I trust his process so much, he is incredible."
The move to Villa has already reaped benefits, with Martinez playing a key role in their strong start to the season.
In his first showing for for Villa, Martinez saved a penalty against Sheffield United, earning him the first of two Premier League clean sheets in three games.
On his move to the Midlands, Martinez said: "I rejected a lot of clubs and then, in my first game, I saved a penalty and had a man of the match performance.
“That is where I’m at now. I told my wife just the other day, I feel like I’m so in love with football again, like I’ve never known before.”
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