Safe to say that Cristiano Ronaldo won’t be forgetting the name of goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez. Neither will Manchester United fans.
In the latest instance of master gamesmanship by the Argentine, who pushes the limits of sportsmanship, “Dibu” Martinez was once again playing mind games on a penalty kick. It paid off for him and his team after Aston Villa shocked Manchester United in a 1-0 road win.
Aston Villa was defending its one-goal lead with just a couple of minutes left in the match when the referee awarded a penalty to Manchester United and a chance for the Red Devils to save face.
As Martinez saw Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes pick up the ball to take the penalty instead of Ronaldo, Martinez promptly pleaded with Ronaldo to take the penalty instead — all within earshot of Fernandes.
Did the sequence get to the head of Fernandes? It’s hard not to think so after he totally missed the target, skying the ball above the crossbar. It was as bad a miss as you’ll see on a professional soccer field at that level.
After the Fernandes penalty fail, Martinez turned to the Old Trafford crowd for a little hip action on his celebration dance:
More Martinez antics at the Copa America
This tactic has already worked for Martinez in a big spot earlier in summer: the semifinal of the Copa America. The match against Colombia went to a penalty-kick shootout, and Martinez used some old-fashioned trash-talking on every kick to help his team advance.
Argentina’s starting goalkeeper was mouthing at each Colombian penalty-taker up until the moment they made contact with the ball. Most referees would have probably warned the goalkeeper or even carded him, but Martinez got away with it on every kick.
And when the broadcasters weren’t talking over it, we were able to hear most of it since there are no fans permitted at Copa America matches:
Martinez added an explicit celebration thrust after one of the stops. He made an unthinkable three saves in the shootout to send his team to the final, where the Argentines beat Brazil to help Lionel Messi win his first-ever title with Argentina.
Here’s how Martinez celebrated the triumph against Manchester United on social media:
Nothing personal from Martinez, and no hard feelings after the final whistle.
This is now his thing. And since Twitter enjoys characters, it celebrated Martinez’s antics against Manchester United, as his legend continues to grow:
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