11 fun facts about Lisandro Martinez

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Everything you need to know about Manchester United's Argentine centre-back Lisandro Martinez.

Lisandro Martinez is a young and talented football player from Argentina who has quickly established himself as a key player for both Ajax Amsterdam and the Argentina national team. Born on January 18, 1998, in Gualeguay, a small city in the province of Entre Rios, Martinez started playing football at a young age and quickly caught the attention of local scouts. He began his youth career at Club Atletico Gualeguay before moving to Club Atletico Newell's Old Boys in Rosario, Argentina.

At Newell's Old Boys, Martinez quickly made a name for himself as a versatile and technically gifted player. He made his professional debut for the team in 2017 and quickly established himself as a regular starter, impressing with his composure on the ball, his physicality, and his ability to read the game.

In July 2019, after just two seasons with Newell's Old Boys, Martinez was signed by Ajax Amsterdam. He quickly adapted to his new surroundings, impressing with his performances in pre-season and establishing himself as a regular starter in the team.

During his first season with Ajax, Martinez played an important role in the team's success, helping them to win the Eredivisie title and reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League. He continued his strong performances in the 2020-21 season and helped Ajax to another league title. Martinez's performances were recognized with a call-up to the Argentina national team, where he made his debut in a friendly match against Chile in June 2021.

Martinez's time at Ajax attracted interest from other top clubs in Europe, and he reunited with Erik ten Hag, former Ajax manager, at Manchester United in the summer of 2022, for a reported transfer fee of between £47 million to £49 million, plus £8.5 million in add-ons. He has since won the Carabao Cup with the Red Devils.

Martinez is a talented and versatile football player who has quickly established himself as one of the most assured ball-playing central defenders in the world.

Here are 11 interesting facts about Martinez that you absolutely need to know.

  1. Family matters

    Martinez is a family man. He is very close with his parents, including his grandparents. Raul Martinez and Silvina Cabrera, his mother, have always supported him throughout his career. Martinez is closer to his mother, who has been present through all his career achievements. Furthermore, Martinez also has a little sister to whom he serves as godfather.

  2. Nickname at Ajax
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    Nickname at Ajax

    Man United’s centre-back inherited the nickname of ‘The Butcher of Amsterdam’ during his time at Ajax.

    The Argentine centre-back revealed the reason behind his nickname. “I am called the Canisero – the Butcher of Amsterdam," he told NOS (via Mirror)

    “We Argentines do everything with passion – and when I go out on the pitch I fight for every ball. In Argentina, not everyone is brought up with enough resources. Sometimes you can't even eat. As a child I suffered from hunger. When I step on the pitch I think back on the times I couldn't even buy shoes. This is why we are so combative. Argentinians kill to win. If I have to step over dead bodies I do it. I want to win every 50-50 situation because I know that I am fighting for food for every member of my family and for my friends."

    “That is the feeling I have – and every Argentinian has. It is the kind of motivation I cannot explain.”

  3. Pitbull in Argentina

    Pitbull in Argentina

    Now, this is a name that Martinez has got behind. He is called a “pitbull” in his native country. Speaking about the nickname, Martinez said, “In Argentina, they called me The Pitbull. That covers my playing style better. I bite into my opponent.”

    He can be seen snarling at opposition attackers and forces them into giving up possession as much as possible.

  4. Tough start at Ajax

    The 25-year-old central defender established himself as one of the best players in the world but life at Ajax was not always what glitters for the Argentine.

    According to a statement given in an interview with La Nacion (via SkySports), “In the first three weeks, I had a miserable time. It was totally different. At first, I wanted to go home and cry. I felt bad. I’m a player who likes to have the ball, but when they got me into one or two quick touches, they killed me. It was amazing how off pace I was to everything."

  5. Ajax Player of the Season 2021-22

    Ajax Player of the Season 2021-22

    Martinez was voted the player of the season for Ajax at the end of 2021-22 for his strong performances. The Argentine played multiple positions and helped Ajax win another Eredivisie title.

  6. The most expensive Argentine defender in history

    The most expensive Argentine defender in history

    Martinez signed for Manchester United in the summer of 2022 for a transfer fee of 57 million euros plus another 10 million in bonuses, making Martínez the most expensive Argentine defender in history.

    The previous record belonged to Cristian “Cuti” Romero, when he was transferred from Italian side Atalanta to Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs paid 50M euros plus 5M in other bonuses.

  7. Praise from Vidic

    Praise from Vidic

    There was a lot of noise surrounding Martinez's transfer, his physicality and how he will adapt to a new country but the Argentine has answered his critics profoundly. His performances have earned him praise from Manchester United legend Nemanja Vidic.

    "I’m really pleased with how Lisandro did when he joined the club. There were some issues, people were concerned if he could play in England, but as an ex player and a defender I’m really happy how he’s playing and especially that energy he gives to the team, that aggression and winning mentality.” Vidic told inews.

  8. Three major trophies with Argentina
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    Three major trophies with Argentina

    Martinez enjoyed success at international level as well. He was a member of the Argentina squads that won the 2021 Copa América, the 2022 Finalissima, and the 2022 FIFA World Cup. He has etched his name in the folklore of Argentine football.

  9. Versatility is the name of the game

    Martinez is a technically gifted footballer. His technique on the ball has allowed him to seamlessly transition from playing at centre-back to playing at left-back to playing in midfield, adding further value to the team. He played in all those positions for Ajax under the tutelage of current Manchester United boss, Erik ten Hag.

  10. Passing savant
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    Passing savant

    In the 2021–22 Eredivisie season, Martinez averaged more passes per 90 minutes than any other player. He is progressive with his actions on the ball and only two players averaged more forward passes per 90 than the Argentine defender during the 2021-22 season, according to SkySports.

  11. Tattoos on the arm

    Tattoos on the arm

    The South American has a liking for tattoos as well. The former Ajax player has his sleeve covered in ink. A beautifully drawn lion on his forearm, represents his furious passion on the pitch. His upper arm is is painted with the image of the Buddha.