Emi Martinez insists Lionel Messi ‘is the only player in history to complete football’ after leading Argentina to World Cup glory as goalkeeper reveals his surprising pre-final ritual

WHAT HAPPENED? The Aston Villa goalkeeper has expressed his admiration for Argentina skipper Messi and stated how the 36-year-old is an inspiration to a lot of people, not just on the field but off the pitch as well. With the World Cup triumph in 2022, Messi has now won every major trophy in club and international football and Martinez has suggested that no other player can match his achievements.

WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking to TV Publica, Martinez said: “He represents what an Argentine is. Familiar, he gives everything for his children and his wife. He loves football, he gives everything on the field. The example to follow is Messi, he is probably the most famous in the world. That he loves his family and cares for his children as much as he does is a source of pride.

“I follow him a lot in that regard. He is the first and only player in history to complete football. He finishes his career as an idol not only as a player but as a person. I don’t tell him these things, because he knows them. He knows how much I appreciate him and defend him on the pitch.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The 31-year-old goalkeeper also revealed his strange pre-World Cup final ritual ahead of facing France on December 18, 2022.

He added: “The night before I was able to sleep well, I sleep great before games. And I took a three-hour nap on the day of the final. I ate a ham and cheese sandwich with mate con mate. That was my snack before a final.”

WHAT NEXT? The reigning world champions will be next seen in action on October 12 when they take on Paraguay in a 2026 World Cup qualifying game, but it remains to be seen if Messi will participate as he continues to recover from an injury that has limited his game time at Inter Miami in recent weeks.

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