Emi Martinez has set his next target as he reveals promise Aston Villa kept

Emiliano Martinez has achieved an awful lot in the last 18 months for club and country - and he has made no apologies as he continues to set increasingly challenging goals on behalf of Aston Villa. Martinez played a significant role as the Lions secured Champions League football at the back end of last season.

That, as well as reaching the semi-finals of the Europa Conference League - with penalty shoot-out heroics from Martinez in Lille in the quarter finals - pointed to a successful campaign, but on an international level Martinez has also enjoyed notable triumphs. Dibu contributed heavily as Argentina won the World Cup in Qatar in 2022, and that followed their 2021 Copa America triumph - a title they'll defend this summer.

Martinez, speaking on Ben Foster's Fozcast alongside his former goalkeeping coach Neil Cutler, admits that the World Cup was always his career dream, but he will continue to set himself targets - and Villa winning a title would appear to be the next one to tick off on his career wish list.

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"Now is when the psychology comes," he said on the episode, which you can listen to here. "What's next? How can I be motivated when I've already reached my dreams? I always find a way. I wanted to get Aston Villa in the Champions League. I was obsessed with it. I won the World Cup after 38 years or so with Argentina, I won the Copa America after 30 years. We'd never beat Brazil in the Maracana. The first qualifier they lost in history was against us in December.

"I always find huge targets. Let's say you play for Man United, you qualify, you finish top four. Anyone can do it. Even if it's Tottenham or Chelsea, they're big clubs. Aston Villa had to wait 42 years - what if I can do it? What if we did it? It's something that's hard to do. It's challenging myself. I said to my mom, my agents, it means more to stay at a club like Villa and deliver what I was dreaming. It's like winning a title with Argentina. What's next? It's a title with the club."

Speaking of Cutler, who is currently at Wolves under Gary O'Neil, Martinez recalled the conversation he held with the outgoing coach after he'd been informed that he'd be leaving Villa. Javi Garcia, who has worked with Unai Emery previously at Sevilla, PSG, Arsenal and Villarreal, was being recruited and Cutler had to make way. Martinez was pleased, though, that Villa looked after Cutler following their parting of the ways.

“I remember him saying, look, I'm getting sacked," Martinez continued. "It was a big shock for me. We knew the relationship we had, how comfortable I was with him on and off the pitch. I went to the club to see the sporting director. He said there's nothing we can do, it's a manager decision, that's a new staff decision. I knew Javi, so I knew Javi wouldn't do that.

"He would probably meet him, talk to him, and then work alongside him. That's how I know Javi. It was quite difficult knowing he doesn't have a club. Obviously, I didn't have that relationship day in, day out. It was a difficult period for me. I was going to a World Cup as well, so I couldn't really...a lot of changes. That season was hard for me.

“To be fair, the club was good. They promised him, they gave him a year of his salary, they were going to look after him. The club kept the promise, so that's what Aston Villa is about. They're quite good in this.”

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