Iñigo Martínez: 'I'll give everything for Barça'

Iñigo Martínez: 'I'll give everything for Barça'

The new blaugrana centre back is excited about this new challenge in his career and hungry for more silverware

Bearing the Barça badge on his chest and a big smile, Iñigo Martínez turns up for the interview at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper, one of the few places he has been able to get to know in the city of Barcelona. Immersed in preseason preparations, the centre back is showing plenty of his competitive character, desire and ambition, all qualities welcome in a squad that is still hungry for silverware.  


You have never played for a club outside of the Basque Country before. Why have you decided to move away from the area where you were born for the first time in your career? What made you decide to take that step?  

I have been a long time in my home area, in my comfort zone. In the end there comes a point when you need a change of scene and since I received Barça’s call, I was interested. The confidence they showed in me from that first call helped me take that leap, which is difficult because at home I felt valued and loved. The truth is that I come here happy with a real desire to get to know new people, a new city and a different style of life. I am really excited about this new stage for me.  

You are coming from a club with a lot of history and with a real tradition and moving to Barça, which also has a lot of history and importance in the league. Will that help you settle in quickly? Or do you feel you are coming to a club with more pressure?  

Pressure, there will always be a lot of. But any player who has been in football for a while adapts to it and you know how to deal with it. I am coming in from a great club in Athletic, I have real appreciation and special affection for it. I have always been a fan from a young age, and I will always be. Ahead of everything, I want to thank Athletic for everything they have given me and all they have done for me. Now, I am coming to another great club who wants to win everything and where I can keep developing. It’s a privilege to come to Barça and not everyone can experience it and I hope to make the most of this opportunity.  

What does it mean to wear the FC Barcelona badge on your shirt?  

Responsibility. Giving everything for the badge. Team spirit. Everything that the badge means, everything it has achieved over the years, is a motivating factor that you like to have in this kind of situation. I have no doubt that things will go well. There is a lot of confidence in the squad and in the coaching staff. Again, I am happy and really looking forward to getting going in a Barça shirt.  

At Real Sociedad and Athletic you have always been a starter. A lot of playing time and I imagine behind that is a lot of work.  

Obviously, playing so many years in the starting XI under different coaches means that what you are doing is good. Behind everything, there is a lot of effort that you put in to keep playing, that is our job. In any team we come to fight for our place as everyone wants to play. Now, there is no doubt there will be moments when you will have to sit it ou, but Barça is a team and what is important is winning as a team and above all you must have team spirit.  

You come to Barça team who had a spectacular season on a defensive level, the best record in the league. What do you think you can bring to the set up? What other quality can you add?  

There are some great centre backs, some who have not been Culers long, but you can see how they have they work together. They have worked hard on all aspects of the game. I can bring experience and the competitive character that I have. I can bring a lot of things that are good for the team; I am here to help.  

Xavi is the man at the wheel of this Barça team. Have you been able to talk to him and what message has he got across in your first days as a Culer?  

He congratulated me on my arrival. He has shown confidence in me and that is very important for a player. The truth is I have not had much time to talk because the last few days I have been training apart from the squad as part of my recovery – in the days to come we will talk more.  

You have played a lot against Barça What has surprised you most?  

The way of playing, that’s something that Barça have defined clearly and every time I used to come to Camp Nou it was tough, and the games seemed to last forever; I am a defender and I can tell you that. The truth is that it is a pleasure to watch Barça play. Not just now because I have signed for them but also as an opponent, you enjoy watching them, how they enjoy playing that way. That’s what football is about: enjoying yourself while you play.  

Carrying on with the Barça style, it’s a team that defends in possession and plays with a high line. Do you like playing like that?  

Yes, I have been playing like that for years. I think last season we were the team, after Barça, who played with the highest line. I don’t think I am going to have a problem given I have already learned to play this way.  


Has there been a Barça player who has been a role model for you?  

When I was young, I always focused on Athletic players, the club of my youth. Barça have had a lot of great players for a long time but in recent years I have taken a lot of notice of an international teammate of mine, Sergio Busquets. In many ways, he represents what Barça is.  

How would you define Iñigo Martínez as a person and as a player?  

I am just a normal person, without too much extravagance. I like being with my family and my closest friends. That’s me.  

Can you explain to us the reasons behind your classic goal celebration?  

It started a few years ago thanks to some of the daft things I do at home with my daughters to make them laugh. It was just to make them laugh really. Besides, it was a celebration that nobody else did and it turned out well. I wanted them, from the stands, to see me and feel me, their dad, doing that celebration; I thought they would like it. That’s it and every time I score, which is not very often being a defender, I celebrate excitedly, and I like it because it’s for them, who are the best thing in the world for me.  

Can you tell us something about the tattoos you have on your arms?  

I have quite a few. I started with one and now I have a lot on my arms, in a Maori style. I have my classic celebration tattooed only recently. I have a few that refer to my kids, my grandmother so that they are always with me. On my back I have my sister’s name as I love here a lot. A few others as well that I don’t really remember.  


You have not been in Barcelona long, but do you have yet a favourite place in the city? 

I have not had much time because in preseason we have been training a lot. For that reason I don’t really have a favourite place in the city yet; I still have not visited much so far. It’s true that when you come to visit Barcelona you always get the impression that it is a really nice place.  

What’s your message to the fans for the coming season?  

The team is going to give 200%. We are hoping for an exciting year with a young squad and a lot of ambition. We want to follow on from last season when the team was in good form. It’s a project that shows ambition and, little by little, will pick up more wins and more trophies.

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