Lionel Messi: Emi Martinez reveals Argentina legend’s leadership skills

  • Rob Swan

Emiliano Martinez wowed Ben Foster with a story about Lionel Messi’s leadership qualities during a wide-ranging conversation between the two Premier League goalkeepers.

Martinez, 29, told Foster that Messi was his hero growing up and the Argentina international remains in awe of his legendary compatriot after playing alongside him.

Martinez and Messi won the Copa America together last summer. This was the first time that Argentina had secured a major international trophy since 1993.

It was, therefore, also the first time that Messi had lifted a major international trophy with his country.

This was a career-long ambition for Messi and the veteran forward, who went on to win a record-breaking seventh Ballon d’Or award in November 2021, was overcome with emotion after the full-time whistle.

Messi also made sure that he got a photo with Martinez and all of their trophies on the pitch of the famous Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro after they won the Best Player and Best Goalkeeper awards, respectively. 

Emi Martinez on Lionel Messi’s leadership qualities

Martinez couldn’t speak highly enough of Messi during his chat with Foster for Amazon Prime.

And the Aston Villa ‘keeper shed light on Messi’s leadership qualities, saying everyone listens when the global icon speaks.

“He did a speech,” Martinez said while reminiscing about the Copa America. “Everyone shut up. Whoever it is: the manager, the president of Argentina… whoever’s in there, they just shut up.

Asked if he’s the person who gets people going, Martinez said: “Mate, he just said one thing to me before half-time in the group-stage game against Uruguay. We were winning 1-0, [Edinson] Cavani and [Luis] Suarez were upfront.

“He said: ‘Emi, make sure you’re solid on crosses because that’s the only way they’re going to score’.

“Mate, I wanted to come for everything!”

Watch the clip here:

Martinez kept his clean sheet in tact as Argentina sealed a hard-fought 1-0 victory which set them up to qualify top of Group A.

Argentina’s first-choice ‘keeper and their talismanic captained continue to shine throughout the tournament before defeating arch-rivals Brazil 1-0 in the final.

Neither Martinez nor Messi will ever forget each other’s contribution to Argentina’s success that summer.

BRASILIA, BRAZIL – JULY 06: Lionel Messi of Argentina greets teammate goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez during a penalty shootout after a semi-final match of Copa America Brazil 2021 between Argentina and Colombia at Mane Garrincha Stadium on July 06, 2021 in Brasilia, Brazil. (Photo by Andressa Anholete/Getty Images)

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