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Aston Villa's Emi Martinez says leaving for Champions League club would be 'too easy'

Emi Martinez has declared himself up for the challenge of ending Villa’s long trophy drought – claiming leaving for a Champions League club would be “too easy”.

Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez during the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool. Picture date: Saturday February 25, 2023.
Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez during the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool. Picture date: Saturday February 25, 2023.

The World Cup winner this week added Fifa’s The Best goalkeeper award to his increasing haul of personal accolades and was again touted for a possible summer exit from Villa Park.

But in an interview on the BT Sport podcast, Michael Calvin’s Football People, Martinez played down such talk and reaffirmed his desire to help bring the glory days back to Villa.

Saturday’s home match with Crystal Palace will be the 30-year-old's 99th appearance since the £20million move from Arsenal in September 2020 which has helped transform his career.

He said: "I want to achieve something that no one achieves, or it's been hard to achieve.

"And obviously, people were saying, after the Copa America after the World Cup, Emi is going to go and play Champions League and he’s going to leave.

“And I'm thinking, yeah, that's the easiest part. You know that that's easy leaving now in January going to a club playing the Champions League and all that.

“It seems everything is easy. Actually, it was a real challenge for me.

“Winning a World Cup for Argentina after 36 years? Yes. Beating the champions of America after 28 years in the Maracana? Yeah, that was a challenge.

“Winning the Finalissima against the champions of Europe was a challenge.

“And now we need something for Aston Villa after 30 years? I don’t know how long it was. 40 years? That’s a challenge. You know, that's a challenge. And that's something I’m made for - for challenges, for not always having the easy way out.

“And (in Unai Emery) we’ve got one of the best managers for winning things in Europe. So I'm up for the challenge."

Martinez, who described himself as a “born winner”, also won the Golden Glove Award after being goalkeeper of the tournament at Qatar 2022 but said the personal accolades mean little when compared to the impact the win had in his homeland.

He explained: “Half of the kids want to be [Lionel] Messi, half of the kids want to be a goalkeeper now. Obviously, that's a proud moment in my career.

“I always say that I hate individual awards, you know, now with the FIFA Best [Goalkeeper] award, doesn't satisfy me.

“It satisfies me just seeing the young children trying to be a goalkeeper now because they love what they have seen in the World Cup, you know? So whatever happens in my career, from now on, I will always be grateful for the chance I had in the World Cup.”

"You need obviously, when you're young, you need to be driven. I always have objectives in my life, even though when I was such a young age.

“Now the young kid wants to buy a Range Rover or wants to buy a Louis Vuitton bag rather than thinking: ‘Okay, I want to buy a house for my mum, or a house for my grandmother’.

“That's something I always had in my young age, I wanted to be successful for my family, always find a reason why you're doing it. Obviously, you have to do it for yourself but I think if you find the reason why you're doing it for who you’re doing it for, I think it will help you to stay on the line in your career.

“I was 24, my mum and dad, secure them financially, I bought them a really nice house for them for my brother.

“And then when my child was born, I was doing it for them. You know, I always wanted to be on the line for them.

“Even when I go through the easy ways, I wanted to be through the hard ways and make sure when I retire, I would say you know what, I gave my all. And even if I didn’t make it, if I didn't win the World Cup, if I'm not playing for a Premier League club, I would say I tried my best.”

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