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Lisandro Martinez recalls a key moment as a child that shaped his career in football



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Credit: IMAGO / NurPhoto

Lisandro Martinez was signed from Ajax for Manchester United for a fee of close to £60 million in the summer of 2022, and has quickly climbed his way into becoming a fan favourite.

The signing, which was pushed heavily by Erik ten Hag, has born incredible success so far, with the Argentinian forging a perfect partnership in the centre of defence with Raphael Varane at Manchester United.

Speaking ahead of the Crystal Palace fixture, Martinez has recalled a key moment he experienced with his father that he pinpoints as the moment he knew he had to make it in football.

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“(When I was) about 13, very young, my parents confronted me,” he told Inside United. “My dad was working as a bricklayer at that time. He said that if I wasn’t going to play football, I wasn’t going to make anything of myself, that I should compare football to being a bricklayer.

“So he set that scene and, once my father took me with him (to work). I remember that I had to be there at seven in the morning. And I overslept, imagine that!

“I got there for around 10.30am or 11am. When I arrived, my father just looked at me. I remember it like it was yesterday. He looked at me and said: ‘Do you realise that this isn’t for you? You need to have a career in football. Football is your thing.’

“And that’s when the penny dropped for me.”

Martinez has since had a brilliant career so far, moving to Europe at a fairly young age to rise the ranks at Ajax and become integral in their winning of multiple league titles and domestic cup trophies.

Martinez grew up in a humble household in Argentina, explaining that he owes a lot of his attitude and mentality to the fact that his family did not have everything, and that if you want something, you have to work to get and earn it.

I think (the experiences influenced me) a lot,” he detailed. “A great deal, because that means I never forget where I’ve come from. I also think that there’s something in me that I was born with, which is probably my mentality.

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“I’d see things, as a kid, that maybe others didn’t. But life itself is tough, you’re always faced with tough times and that’s where you need to show your mental strength.

“It’s true I come from a family in which we didn’t have everything. Nothing ever fell from the skies. But my family have always supported me a lot, they’ve instilled many values which make me who I am today. And then you start improving as a person, you work on lots of things, you learn, you experience things.

“So I’m very proud of everything I’ve gone through and it’s that strength I have today.”