He’s set to make his first Champions League start for the club tonight, but just who is Emi Martinez? Where did he come from? What’s his bag (as they say)?
To give you a better understanding of the young goalkeeper, here are 10 things you might not have known about him.
1 – Despite only playing twice for Arsenal, he has been called up the full Argentina squad. In 2011 he was asked to replace the injured Óscar Ustari for a game against Nigeria.
2 – He was known as Damián Martinez, as his full name is Damián Emiliano Martinez. He’s recently asked to called Emi, short for Emiliano, having grown weary of his youth team colleagues at Arsenal taking the mickey out of the name Damian and suggesting he was the son of Satan, as per the character in the Omen.
3 – While on loan at Sheffield Wednesday, he was involved in an altercation with Joey Barton in a 3-0 win over QPR. The temperamental midfielder went in late on the keeper, who responded by pinching the skin at the back of his arm and telling him he was for it after the game. Barton locked himself in a janitor’s closet at Hillsborough until the coast was clear.
4 – He cites his goalkeeping influences as David Seaman, Sergio Goycoechea and Stéphane Henchoz.
5 – If he hadn’t been a footballer he would have pursued a career in science. Before he joined Arsenal he had been accepted at the prestigious Institute of Future Technology (IFT) in Buenos Aires to study under renowned professors Dr Eme Marrón and Biffez Tannen.
6 – Martinez told Argentine newspaper, La Noticia Impostura, that when he first arrived at the club Jens Lehmann was a massive help to him and gave him a piece of advice that he always remembered and had tattooed on his back in Gothic script:
“Now this mountain I must climb, feels like the world upon my shoulders
Through the clouds I see love shine, it keeps me warm as life grows colder”
He says these words remain an inspiration to him, when he feels heartache and pain and isn’t quite sure if he can face it again.
7 – He comes from a very sporting family. His brother, Martín, plays as a striker for Spanish second division side Recreativo Huelva, his uncle was an 1980 Olympic silver medalist in the pole vault, while his father was the Argentinian Street Luge champion for 6 consecutive years between 1986 and 1991.
8 – In an interview with arsenal.com he was asked his favourite things, which were as follows:
Footballer: Diego Maradona
Film: The Shawshank Redemption
Music: Orchestral Uplifting Trance or Twin Cities hip hop
Colour: Black (70% opacity)
Movie stars (M&F): Rodrigo Guirao Díaz Ramirez – Shannen Doherty
Place for holiday: Constantinople
Food: Kebab meat pizza
9 – Before coming to Arsenal he had trials at a number of Premier League clubs including Wigan, Portsmouth and Norwich. The Canaries were keen on signing him and sent joint majority shareholder Delia Smith to seal the deal by cooking him the perfect dinner. Unfortunately, she got a little carried away with the cooking wine, straddled the table seductively and shouted ‘Come on, let’s be ‘avin ya!’ .
After excusing himself briefly, a terrified Martinez was forced to flee through the bathroom window.
10 – As a child he was once introduced to Argentine legends Mario Kempes and Ossie Ardiles at a summer camp for kids. He was so nervous he vomited chewing gum into Kempes’ beard, requiring him to shave it off and sport a conquistador moustache until it all grew back.