The rapid rise of Argentina's new goalkeeping hero Emiliano Martinez

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His name is Damian but everyone knows him as Emilian. Or by mnay as ‘Dibu’. Damián Emiliano ‘Dibu’ Martínez has just come to the end of a memorable CONMEBOL Copa América 2021 campaign, in many ways the most important sporting achievement of an already impressed career.

The Argentine goalkeeper, champion of the oldest national team tournament in the world, was one of the great revelations of this competition.

With only 2 goals conceded in the 6 games he played (against Bolivia Franco Armani played) and 4 clean sheets (the most in the tournament), the 28 year old stopper was named the best goalkeeper at the CONMEBOL Copa América 2021 and included in the GET team of the tournament.

He also stopped 85.7% of the shots he faced and helped his side overcome Colombia in a semi-final penalty shootout, with 3 huge stops.

He was born in Mar del Plata and came through at the youth team of Independiente but moved to Europe at a young age. At 16 he was sold to Arsenal where he began his professional career.

At the London club he struggled to earn himself a starting position and was loaned out to clubs including Sheffield Wednesday, Wolves, Getafe and Reading without finding much needed consistency.

In June 2020 everything aligned for Martinez to finally get a chance as Arsenal’s starting goalkeeper. He impressed and helped the side to win both the FA Cup and the Community Shield. He had proven his quality at the highest level and he now had could command a Premier League starting spot.

In September he moved to Aston Villa, where he was confident he could be the main man for the Birmingham side. In his first season he was named player of the season for his club and the third best goalkeeper of the season in the Premier League, behind Edouard Mendy of Chelsea and Ederson of Manchester City.

Argentine recognition and glory

While he was working hard to establish himself in Europe, the talented goalkeeper wa also trying to earn a place in the Argentine national team. In June 2021 he was starter for the game against Chile and he has kept his spot ever since.

Lionel Scaloni has been won over by his performances and Martinez has become ‘his’ goalkeeper ahead of Franco Armani, Esteban Andrada y Agustín Marchesín, among others.

The rest of the story you know: an impressive CONMEBOL Copa América, a first Argentine title in 28 years and the award for Best Goalkeeper of the competition. His rise has been rapid but his glory is well earned.

Emiliano Martínez’ is another wonderful story from the CONMEBOL Copa América. A player who believed in himself and battled his way to the top.

Unknown by many in his native Argentina when he was first called up, he is now one of their biggest stars. Damián Emiliano Martínez, ‘Dibu’, is one of the great players who have rocked the continent at the Copa America