Shropshire Star

Emi Martinez overwhelmed after stunning Argentina homecoming

Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez admitted he could not hold back the tears as Argentina’s World Cup heroes were given a stunning homecoming.


Thursday night’s 2-0 friendly win over Panama saw Martinez and his international team-mates were in action on home turf for the first time since their win at Qatar 2022 and they were given a rapturous reception by a packed out El Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires.

Martinez was visibly emotional prior to kick-off and later said: “I couldn't hold back the tears.

“Everything came to my head: what it took to get there. We wanted to win and enjoy it this way. I want you to go home happy today.”

Late goals from Thiago Almada and Lionel Messi earned Argentina a win and there were further celebrations after the final whistle, with Martinez joined on the pitch by his Villa team-mate Emi Buendia, recently recalled to the international squad.

Players were presented with replicas of the World Cup trophy with Martinez and several team-mates recreating the goalkeeper’s infamous lewd gesture after winning the Golden Glove Award in Qatar.

That was despite Martinez recently admitted some regret at his actions. Fifa has since launched an investigation into whether any actions by Martinez or his Argentina team-mates after the World Cup final breached their regulations

Martinez told Goal: “It was just silly things for me. It's something I'm not proud of to be fair because I had done it in the Copa America.

“My mate was saying 'I bet you're not going to do the same as the Copa America in the World Cup'. I say 'yes, I'm going to do it'.

“So I've done the same celebration that I've done in the Copa America. Seeing all the things afterwards and all the criticism, I should not really have done it. So that's the only thing I'm not proud of from the World Cup.”

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