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regular-article-logo Sunday, 19 May 2024

No fuss, Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez revels in adulation

A beautiful city, wonderful people, says Martinez

Our Special Correspondent Calcutta Published 06.07.23, 07:20 AM
Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez poses in front of a statue of the legendary Diego Maradona in Lake Town on Wednesday.

Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez poses in front of a statue of the legendary Diego Maradona in Lake Town on Wednesday. Santosh Ghosh

The sun was beating down mercilessly on Wednesday morning but that did not deter Enakshi Law and her children — Riddhima and Rishaan — to wait from 10am for a glimpse of “the best goalkeeper in the world”.

The US-based trio are on a vacation and when they came to know that their favourite Emiliano Martinez will be at the Sreebhumi Sporting Club they did not want to miss this chance.

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First on the to-do list was a rush to New Market on Tuesday evening to buy an Argentina shirt for Riddhima. “My son and daughter are huge Martinez fans,” Enakshi said.

“We had watched all the Argentina matches during the World Cup,” Riddhima said proudly. Her brother Rishaan came with a photo of the Argentine goalkeeper.

Martinez arrived an hour and a half later, by when the crowd had swelled. Around 300 were waiting, braving the heat and sweat, in front of the Diego Maradona statue where the World Cup-winni­ng goalkeeper made his first halt. He paid tribute to his famous compatriot who had himself unveiled it some years ago.

Martinez then hopped on an open vehicle and waved to the crowd. Some lobbed footb­alls and Argentina shirts at him and Martinez signed all without any fuss. The vehicle took a tour of the area before stopping at the Sreebhumi ground. Inside was a sea of blue and white shirts. “It’s great to be here,” he said.

During his 45-minute stay at the ground, more footbal­ls and shirts came with autograph requ­ests. The man did not complain. Even Sreebhumi president and state minister Sujit Bose got irritated but Martinez obliged his fans.

The Fifa Golden Glove recipient was presented with a golden glove by the club. The emcee requested him to do what he did after winning the award in Qatar. That celebration was thought to be obscene by some, even though Martinez hadn’t cared for it. The Calcutta crowd roared as he repeated his celebration.

His next stop was Santosh Mitra Square in central Calcutta where he was given an equally rousing welcome. “A beautiful city, wonderful people,” he said before leaving for another engagement at Rishra in Hooghly district.

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