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Monday, February 6, 2023

Lisandro Martinez says he respects Manchester United defender so much it’s like they’ve played together for years

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Lisandro Martinez has discussed beating Manchester United teammate Raphael Varane in the 2022 World Cup final.

Martinez’s Argentina beat Varane’s France on penalties after a stunning 3-3 draw after 120 minutes in Qatar.

There was a great image after the game of both players shaking hands despite their respective contrasting emotions.

And Martinez told Sky Sports he has so much respect for his defensive colleague and it feels like their relationship spans back longer than half a season.

Martinez Varane

Photo by Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images

“It was really, really important,” he said of that moment.

“We’ve only known each other a short time at United but we get on really, really well and there’s a real mutual respect and feeling between us. It’s like we’ve known each other for years.

“He was my opponent, but that’s football. One team has to win, and won team has to lose, but I think it’s important to recognise that.

“There’s a mutual love and respect between us. We shared that hug and it was important because football is like that. What happens on the pitch, stays on the pitch, but what happens off it is just as important and relationships like that count.”

It seems like Lisandro and Varane are United’s first choice central defensive partnership when they are both fit, but Martinez is yet to start since the World Cup.

Luke Shaw has deputised as the left-sided central defender, something he has not done in a back four before, and performed well.

But it seems unlikely Ten Hag will continue with that experiment against Manchester City or Arsenal, who are United’s next two Premier League opponents.

Varane and Martinez will be key in those games and if United can get two clean sheets there, it would be a really great platform to potentially get two huge results.

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