Why is Emiliano Martinez called 'Dibu'? Argentina & Aston Villa goalkeeper's nickname explained
Emiliano Martinez came into the limelight quite late in his career but hasn't looked back since.
Not many may recall the Argentine goalkeeper's Premier League debut appearance with Arsenal off the bench against Manchester United back in November 2014, or his first game in England while on loan with then League Two side Oxford United.
Starting off his English sojourn on a youth contract at Arsenal in 2010, having begun his career with Independiente's youth side at the age of 16, the 30-year-old rose to the limelight with his Copa America and World Cup exploits along with a couple of impressive seasons with Aston Villa.
So, what is the origin and meaning of the nickname? GOAL brings you everything you need to know.
Why is Emiliano Martinez called 'Dibu'?
Emi Martinez, as he is generally known in England, has been known as "Dibu Martinez" from his childhood days. The nickname comes from a character named 'Dibu' (Draw) from an Argentine television series Mi Familia es un Dibujo which literally means 'My family is a drawing'.
"If you Google 'Dibu', he's a little bit ginger with spots in the face, with a little bit of long hair. That was exactly how I looked when I was in Independiente at the age of 12," Martinez explained the origin of his nickname.
It was a children's show at the time and among the first to integrate real actors such as German Kraus, Stella Maris Closas and Alberto Anchart, with digitally animated characters. Martinez was six years old when the Argentine family show took off between 1996 and 1998.
In 1998, the name of the show was changed to simply 'Dibu'. The show was well received and was followed by a musical album, as well as three films released with the same characters and original cast: Dibu, The Movie (1997), Dibu 2: Nasty’s Revenge (1998) and Dibu 3: The Great Adventure (2002).
What other nicknames does Emi Martinez have?
It may not be as much of a nickname, but Martinez has been labelled a "phenomenon" by Argentina team-mate Lionel Messi for his three shoot-out saves to clinch their Copa America semi-final win over Colombia.
"We have Emi, who is a phenomenon," said Messi, who converted from the spot in the shootout. "We trusted him. We achieved the goal of being able to play all the games and now we are going to the final."
Head coach Lionel Scaloni added that Martinez's influence has extended far beyond penalties.
"We are very happy with Emiliano's performance, not only because of the penalties, but also because of the security that he is transmitting," he said. "The group of defenders is permanently supported and we like that."
Martinez also won the plaudits of former Arsenal forward Iain Wright who deemed the goalkeeper worth “a lot more” than the £20 million the Gunners accepted during Dibu's transfer to Aston Villa.
Inspiration for the book "Dibu Martinez"
Martinez authored a book titled "Dibu Martínez. Pasión por el fútbol" (Dibu Martinez: Passion for football) that depicts his story around his career.
The description of the book reads, "In this book you will learn how he discovered his passion for soccer and how he developed his career in this sport that drives all Argentines crazy. With a bit of fiction and a lot of reality, you will follow his days from when he played ball on the beach to his most important purchase as a goalkeeper."