Lionel Messi: Aston Villa's Emi Martinez 'one of the best goalkeepers in the world'

Lionel Messi has lauded Aston Villa's Emi Martinez as 'one of the best goalkeepers in the world' after the shot-stopper put in yet another brilliant display for Argentina.

Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez
Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez

Martinez was in dazzling form for his nation during their 3-0 win over Uruguay in World Cup qualifying, twice saving from Luis Suarez and earning a clean sheet as Argentina increased their grip on second spot in the South American group.

Goals from Messi, Rodrigo De Paul and Lautaro Martinez earned all three points - but special praise was handed to Martinez, who has shone for his country since claiming the starting spot.

"Dibu [Emiliano] Martinez is fundamental." Messi said, speaking to TNT Sports.

"When they come to him, he always responds."

"He established himself in goal and we have one of the best goalkeepers in the world."

The Villa man was integral as the Argentine side claimed Copa America glory last summer, saving three spot kicks in the semi-final clash with Colombia before keeping a clean sheet against Brazil in the final.

The 29-year-old has now kept seven clean sheets from 11 appearances for his country, whilst also dazzling for Villa domestically - having previously equalled Brad Friedel's record of clean sheets over a calendar season with 15 over the 2020/21 campaign. He's also earned three clean sheets from six appearances this season for Villa.

He has since been nominated for the 2021 Ballon d'Or Yashin Trophy, France Football's award for the best goalkeeper in world football.

Martinez is joined by Gianluigi Donnarumma, Ederson, Kasper Schmeichel, Edouard Mendy, Thibaut Courtois, Keylor Navas, Manuel Neuer, Jan Oblak and Samir Handanovic for the prestigious award.

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