Interview with Buenos Aires based Man Utd fan and football writer Sam Kelly on Lisandro Martinez


What do Argentinians think of Lisandro Martinez in general, Sam? And how did the public judge his contribution to the World Cup triumph?

“He was obviously been third choice centre-back for most of the World Cup, probably because Lionel Scaloni isn’t quite sold on having a relatively short guy in a centre-back pairing. That’s probably fair enough – international managers don’t have as long with their players, after all, and Cristian Romero and Nicolas Otamendi had already won last year’s Copa América for him – but there’s plenty of recognition of how good Licha is. 


“Any time an Argentine signs for one of Europe’s biggest clubs there’s pride here, and even though people are aware United haven’t had the best time over the last decade, everyone’s still aware of what a big club they are. He’s also pulled off quite a trick by being highly thought of here in spite of not having played much for any big Argentine clubs: he played one match for Newell’s Old Boys before moving to Defensa y Justicia, whose own fans wouldn’t even call them a big club. 


“It’s often hard for players to get credit here if they don’t play for one of the country’s historical ‘Big Five’, but Licha was so good during his two seasons at Defensa, and looked so comfortable at both centre-back and defensive midfield, that people became aware of him anyway. 


“As for the World Cup, he obviously didn’t play as much as he’d probably have liked to, but everyone here is very well aware of how important the whole squad was for the tournament, and that means none of these players will need to worry about being undervalued in future!”


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