Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Garth Crooks has praised Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez on BBC Sport for his actions towards Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford.

Villa got the better of United 1-0 away from home in the Premier League this past weekend.

The Red Devils had the chance to equalise deep into injury time.

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Kortney Hause gave away a penalty, and United attacking midfielder Bruno Fernandes stepped to take it.

Just before the penalty was taken, United and Villa players were near the spot.

Martinez was caught on camera telling United and Portugal international forward Ronaldo to take the penalty.

Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images

Former Tottenham Hotspur forward Crooks was impressed by Martinez’s antics and has included him in his Premier League Team of the Week for BBC Sport.

Crooks has added that Arsenal made a mistake in selling Martinez to Villa in the summer of 2020.

The pundit wrote on BBC Sport: “When Arsenal let this goalkeeper slip through their fingers and go to Aston Villa I thought they had made a terrible mistake. 

“I thought it then and I still think it now. Villa on the other hand have benefited tremendously from his outstanding performances. Against Manchester United the Argentine was at his best.

“I watched in amazement when United were awarded a penalty to see Martinez challenge Cristiano Ronaldo to a duel, daring him, almost taunting him to take the penalty. 

“Fernandes is United’s official penalty taker and missed the spot-kick but the sheer audacity, not to mention the confidence, of Martinez impressed the hell out of me.”

Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images


It was really amusing to see Martinez invite Ronaldo to take the penalty.

Fernandes surely heard that, and that must have got into his head.

Martinez knew what he was doing, and it shows how confident the Villa goalkeeper is.

Then there was also his celebration after Fernandes missed the penalty, as if he had saved it.

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