Emiliano Martinez has quickly turned himself into one of the most polarizing figures in world football.
He’s a beloved icon among the supporters of the Argentina national team after helping them win two major trophies over the last few years. Aston Villa supporters, of course, also love him for his contributions to them since joining from Arsenal.
Martinez has that ability to get under the skin of the opposition players and infuriate them with his antics.
He is an outstanding goalkeeper and arguably the best in penalty shootouts currently – having helped Argentina win the World Cup final with his heroics in the penalty shootout against France.
The Argentine goalkeeper has gotten into quite a lot of scuffles in recent years because of his crazy antics. He is quite brash and uncaring with what he does on the pitch or what effect that has on an opposition player.
In the 2021 Copa America, Martinez was in top form and played a huge part in helping his side win the title. His best performance was arguably in the semifinals when they defeated Colombia on penalties.
What did Martinez say to Yerry Mina?
After the game finished 1-1 in normal time, Leo Messi & co were forced to play a dreaded penalty shootout.
Knowing their tendency of losing shootouts in recent years before that, there was a lot of tension around it. Martinez, however, was the coolest man in the stadium.
Being fully confident of his penalty-saving ability, he was fearless in between the post.
With the shootout well poised, up stepped Everton defender Yerry Mina to take a penalty. He tried smiling in Martinez’s direction, which sparked some trash-talking from the goalkeeper.
Emi told the defender –
I’m eating you up. You’re nervous, huh? You’re laughing but you’re nervous. Yeah, yeah. You’re nervous. You’re nervous. Hey! The ball is ahead (of the penalty spot). Yeah, yeah. Turn a blind eye. I already know you. Hey, look. See how I know where you’ll shoot. And then I’ll save it. I’m eating you up, brother. I’m eating you up, brother.
He ended up guessing the right way to save the penalty and did his hip-thrusting celebration quickly after in the ultimate dig at the Colombian team.
This save even fired up Messi, who shouted ‘Dance Now!’ at Mina – as a reference to the defender dancing after a goal earlier in the game.
Why did Martinez do that gesture?
Martinez doing the hip thrust celebration towards the Colombia team and Mina was the first significant incident in which he pulled it off.
He also, infamously, did it after the World Cup final with the Golden Glove trophy that he had won.
After the World Cup, he defended his actions by claiming he only did the celebration to hit back at the French fans who were booing him.
It appears that the reason for his gesture towards Mina was his own way of giving it back to the Colombia team that tried to make him nervous during the game.
Have Martinez and Mina become friends now?
Even though he was fired up and angry at Mina in that Copa America clash, it appears that the goalkeeper generally shares no ill will with him.
In fact, it was reported that Argentine no.1 even felt compelled to write to the Colombian defender to apologize for his actions after the tournament was over.
Moreover, it also appears that things have now been resolved between them and it’s now all water under the bridge.
Aston Villa recently visited Goodison Park and picked up a 1-0 win over Everton, allowing Martinez and Mina to face each other again.
Ahead of the game, the two greeted each other in the dugout and even shared a warm embrace – hinting that they are on good terms now.
While it could be premature to term them as ‘friends’, they don’t seem to be bitter enemies anymore and are getting along just fine.