Soon after Emi Martinez took the decision to join Aston Villa, he insisted on doing one final interview with us to describe his emotions in full.
The Argentine goalkeeper has been with us for 11 years, but leaves us after playing a crucial role as we won the Emirates FA Cup and the Community Shield - and he will forever be a fan favourite.
“I feel weird, lit’s been over a decade at the club,” Martinez told Arsenal.com. “Everyone knows how much I love Arsenal, and how hard I worked to have the chance that I had in the past few months.
“I am in love with this club, I am so grateful to the Arsenal family for giving me the opportunity to be here over a decade and I wish Arsenal the best of luck, I hope they get back into the Champions League and win many more trophies because the Arsenal fanbase deserves that, the club as well.
“I just want to say to the fans that they should trust the process, they are doing a really good work with Mikel and his staff and I wish them all the best.”
Martinez had to be patient as he waited for his chance in the first team for more than a decade - but no one at Arsenal will forget the way he bowed out with two successes at Wembley.
“At the beginning of my first year, I thought that I wasn’t going to make it,” he said. “That was the reality then because I had nine goalies in front of me. I always believed I had the talent to do it, but never actually believed in myself that I would do it.
“But then over the years, I remember I was on the bench for a Community Shield, I won three FA Cups and three Community Shields but I wasn’t actually part of the team, I wasn’t getting the minutes I needed so I never felt that I won it. I was part of the team, but I never felt it was mine.
“I had to go loan after loan after loan to come back and have a chance to become the keeper I am today. I am grateful to be the player I am and the person I am, because I came here as a young boy, single, from Argentina, a poor country and from a poor family, and I am leaving with a wife, with a kid and as a man. Everything because of Arsenal.”
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