You either love Dibu Martinez or you hate him

The many faces of an inimitable goalkeeper.

I've just checked in and am searching for the common areas as I traverse the labyrinthine corridors of this Melbourne hostel. The soul of Backpacker In these situations he is like a rag doll being pulled by the arms by two argumentative little girls. On the one hand, the desire to socialize, and on the other, especially after the age of 30, the fear of appearing ridiculous or desperate, whatever the fear of rejection is. From a table next to the television, I listen to Castilian sounds and prick up my ears.

Knownbehind the arm of the boy who speaks, a tattoo. It's a stick figure with black edges, a silhouette I'm sure I've seen before but can't remember. The number 23 stands out in the middle. I gather my courage and sit next to him, partly to make friends, partly out of healthy curiosity, and we start talking. After the classic initial pleasantries, I finally ask him about the tattoo.

The 23rd? The Dibu!“ he says to me and smiles at the birthday party.

But of course, “Dibu” Martinez, I think I should have been there as soon as he told me he was Argentinian. A French boy sitting in front of us makes a strange grimace when he hears this name, as if he were a newborn who had licked a lemon for the first time. We laugh and joke and I feel closer to home. The Golden Ball awards ceremony took place recently The Argentine won the Jascin Prize to a hail of boos from the transalpine crowd, so let's talk a little more about the goalkeeper.

He explains it to me what this figure means to him, its theatricality. A mockery in the face of the powerful, the anthropomorphic representation of those typically Argentine feelings of redemption and revenge. He then tells me what the nickname “Dibu” means, the genealogy of another South American apod, which is romantic in itself.

He explains to me that a television series called “Mi familia es un dibujo” was very popular in Argentina in the late 90s (My family is a drawing), where everything revolved around the adventures of this family, which had a son born with the appearance of a cartoon, “Dibu” to be precise. It seems that the young Emiliano Martinez was particularly similar to him after joining Independiente's youth team. Someone must have noticed it and called it that for the first time: the rest is history.

For me, however, Martinez has begun to have a name and a face, but above all a mouth, by the hot ones Evenings of the America's Cup 2021He is dreamily waiting for Italy to become European champions. «You come Hermano» (“I'll eat you, brother”). «But you're nervous. I know you» (“You're laughing, but you're nervous, I already know you”). And another nice “I'll eat you” as the Colombian player starts up.

Emiliano Martinez charges onto his supporting leg and hurls himself to the left like a slingshot. He rejected the penalty shot by Yerry Mina, Colombian defender with a Frankstein-like body, often exaggerated, who came to Florence this summer and then ended up at “Chi l'ha visto”. Mina watches the scene for a moment and runs her hand through her hair, not dancing this time. Yes, because in the preliminary round against Uruguay, the Colombian converted his penalty by holding his thumb to his mouth like a pacifier and doing an unpleasant dance that certainly didn't go down well with many.

In the distance you can see Messi screaming: “You’re not dancing anymore, are you?” L'bad Messithe villain who makes van Gaal ugly was born that evening.

It's only the third penalty in the Copa America semi-final between Argentina and Colombia, but the result now seems clear and will be. After saving the penalty, Martinez makes an eloquent gesture with his body, putting things back in their place, making fun of others and sodomizing; in sports, where this is viewed as such, both for better and for worse mortal sin from Dante's circle, between Count Ugolino and the deepest abyss.

Martinez doesn't dance, he stays on point. Martinez is a no-nonsense leader who came from nowhere. Years of anonymity in England between the first and second seasons. The nomadic goalkeeper is sent like a package from Arsenal For nine years, from 2010 to 2019, I read every supermarket brochure, always borrowing it, without ever believing in it. Then the turning point. Due to a series of events, he always found himself as a regular at Arsenal, with whom he was the protagonist of winning the 2020 FA Cup; With a warm heart, the Latino cries on the sidelines at the time of the interview and thinks back to how difficult it was to assert himself, to the sacrifices he made, to the prejudices.

Then finally, again in 2020, he was sold outright to Aston Villa, where he established himself as the excellent goalkeeper that he is – just look at the current season, where the Birmingham team are enjoying success thanks in part to him Archer (Ask Haaland to believe that was yesterday neutralized by Dibu in the Villans' 1-0 win against the Cityzens). A reference point, a leader without a sash, the perfect conclusion to the story? Perhaps. Because there's a line we've heard a thousand times from Nolan's The Dark Knight, and until now I've never given it much thought. “Either you die a hero or you live so long that you become a villain“.

And that is what is a bit for many, not just his opponents became Dibu Martinez.

Trash talking has always existed in sport, you may not agree with it, but it exists, and there are players who are able to make a career out of it; But the line between provocation and ridicule is often blurred, just remember that case Recently created by Soteldo in Santos-Vasco da Gama, who, by stepping on the ball with both feet as if to make fun of his opponents, provoked a fight that ended with the expulsion of three players – including our “old” (and certainly not quiet) acquaintance Gary Medel.

So what should we make of this Emiliano Martinez, who understandably just isn't well received by many? For example this Zompetta for the second penalty in the game against Holland at the last World Cup, after he canceled out Berghuis' shot: a dance that, perhaps not only for me, was reminiscent of the dance that Yerry Mina had done a few years earlier – and if you Considering that he was lucky then after several rounds, Argentina risked losing the game on penalties.

What to make of the annoying shoulder movement that was seen in the final after the penalty taken by Tchouameni, a boy who, at just 22 years old, had energized France and led them to the final? His penalty hits just right of the post and Martinez celebrates in a frankly unpleasant way, as if he hadn't held the ball himself. And what do you think of the Dibu on the open-top bus during the Argentine parade He carries a doll with Mbappe's face in his arms as a joke? – this very Mpabbé, the only footballer other than Geoff Hurst to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final. Give him one, Emiliano, right?

The step from hero to villain is often a short one, but just when the Argentine goalkeeper seemed to have made it all the way, November 22nd comes and Brazil vs. Argentina takes place, a qualifier for the 2026 World Cup. At the Maracana and wherever else it takes place a game that is already history, not so much because of the sporting result, in which the “Scaloneta” wins by one to zero, but because of what happens before the game. The climate is tense, perhaps the aftereffects of the last Libertadores are still in the air. The Brazilian police are pressing charges in the stadium with excessive ease, especially in the area for Argentine fans.

The videos found online are brutal, and the news is already saying that two people with obvious injuries are being loaded onto stretchers and transported to the hospital. In the midst of this madness, the “Seleccion” decides to go under the host sector to try to put the situation back in order and calls on the police to calm down. And what must have been going through his mind? Martínezin those moments when he decides to climb the balustrade Stop the baton hand of the Brazilian policeman?

What are you doing? What are you doing?!he shouts at him in a trance as his companions struggle to pull him away.

With this red shirt, the only one among all the other Biancocelesti, he looks even bigger. The returning student who grabs the school bully by the collar who wants your snack money. AND How can you not love him to someone like that?

Inimitable, Dibu Martinez

But then, Who is the real Emiliano Martinez? The obscene one wearing the golden glove he just won as a phallus that not even teenagers going through puberty have? Or the finished man who stands as a lightning rod for an entire people? The professional who speaks enviable English? The ugly duckling who became a prince thanks to parades? The truth is that there probably isn't an answer, or at least not just one. As Dostoevsky said, man can never be just someone or something, neither good nor evil, just as reality is not just black and white.

And that applies even more to one like the Dibu Martínez.

In this society that is so prone to shallowness, to what was once defined with the hasty label of “politically correct” but which has now become a preemptive censorship of gestures, language, thoughts, etc Dibu Martinez with his many faces, then at least we have something to talk about. Discordant personalities stimulate, create tension and trigger confrontations that form the cornerstone of all existence. Either you love it or you hate it, they say in these cases, and that's nice. But what is hate in the Catullian sense sometimes if not an integral part of love?

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