Emi Martinez "never wanted to join Arsenal" and only moved to help family
Goalkeeper Emi Martinez has revealed he “never wanted to join Arsenal” – and only moved to the Gunners to help the family financially.
The Argentine is into his second season with Aston Villa, leaving North London after a decade with the club but just 38 appearances in that time.
He arrived at London Colney from Argentine side Independiente in 2010.
But Martinez, who made an emotional exit following his last appearance for Arsenal in their victorious 2020 FA Cup final, has made a big admission about his decision 11 years ago.
Speaking to Spanish outlet El Pais [via Sport Bible] , the shot-stopper said: "Arsenal came to look for me and Pepe Santoro [a coach at Independiente] told me that the train only passes once in a lifetime.
"My family and my agents thought the same. So, the decision was more for them than anything else.
"I didn't want to go. I did not regret it, but I wanted to play in Independiente.
“For a while, I thought: 'If I stayed, in two years I will make my debut.' My family] lacked a little financially. I did it more for that than sports."
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It marks a strong contrast to his leaving statement at Arsenal, having stepped in for Bernd Leno during an injury spell in the 2019/20 season.
He told the club’s website following his departure in September 2020: "I feel weird, it's been over a decade at the club.
"Everyone knows how much I love Arsenal, and how hard I worked to have the chance that I had in the past few months.
"I am in love with this club, I am so grateful to the Arsenal family for giving me the opportunity to be here over a decade and I wish Arsenal the best of luck, I hope they get back into the Champions League and win many more trophies because the Arsenal fanbase deserves that, the club as well.
"I just want to say to the fans that they should trust the process, they are doing really good work with Mikel and his staff and I wish them all the best."
"Thank you, thank you for all of the years [of support]. I thank God for having the opportunity over the past few months to show the Arsenal fanbase what I am made of, and why I went on loan so many times.
"It was always to come back and win them trophies and give them silverware. I did it, I feel prouder than ever.
"They made me as a goalkeeper; not just the club, not just my goalkeeping coaches but the fans as well because they supported me, gave me the confidence to perform as well and I wish them all the best and hope they win many, many trophies. Thank you. That's all I can say."
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