Dibu Martínez delivers in penalty shootout and angers France… again

The Argentine’s performance in the UEFA Conference League reignites the debate about his antics

Emiliano “Dibu” Martínez has once again left French football fans fuming after displaying his traditional antics and coming up big in another penalty shootout against a French team. Aston Villa, the Argentine goalkeeper’s team, beat French team Lille on Thursday in the UEFA Conference League, Europe’s third-tier continental trophy. The series was decided on a penalty shoot-out, where “Dibu” proved crucial once again, much to the dismay of Lille fans.

Martinez was booed from the get-go as Aston Villa arrived at Lille’s Stade Pierre-Mauroy to defend the 2-1 win in the first leg. The broadcast picked up the image of a young boy holding up a sign asking “Dibu” whether he was “ashamed” of his methods, a sentiment that many fans have voiced after Argentina’s victory over France in Qatar 2022.

With several key saves from the Argentine, Aston Villa held on to a 2-1 loss that sent the series into a penalty shootout. There, Martínez showed once again why he’s often regarded as the world’s best goalkeeper, saving shots by Nabil Bentaleb and André to send the Villains to the semifinals. 

But the main chatter was once again devoted to Martinez’s celebrations. “Dibu” danced and silenced the crowd, leaving Lille fans boiling with anger and sparking a flurry of headlines. French sports newspaper L’Equipe, for instance, called the performance “disgusting.”

Martínez’s performance also garnered remarks from some of his colleagues. “His behavior annoys me because he wasn’t like that before,” former French midfielder Samir Nasri told French broadcaster Canal+. Nasri played with the Argentine during his Arsenal days, adding that Martínez was “very shy” when he met him. 

“You don’t need to abuse the opposition by telling them to ‘shh’. He doesn’t need to do that.” 

However, it wasn’t all criticism towards Martínez. “I played in France and experienced what he’s experienced: you’re insulted all the time,” former goalkeeper José Luis Chilavert told Argentine radio La Red. Chilavert, who played for Racing Strasbourg between 2000 and 2002, added that South Americans playing in Europe have to endure all kinds of abuse.

Martínez and Aston Villa will face Greek side Olympiakos in the semifinals, where Argentines Francisco Ortega and Santiago Hezze play. The first leg of the series will kick off on May 2 at Villa Park.


All Right Reserved.  Buenos Aires Herald