Martinez hoping for early birthday present
Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez is hoping to be rewarded with a perfect early birthday gift, as we prepare to take on neighbours City at Old Trafford in the Premier League this weekend.
The Argentinian is set to turn 25 on 18 January and would welcome nothing more than the Reds to emerge victorious against our local rivals in the eagerly anticipated encounter.
Erik ten Hag's men have been in tremendous form since the return of domestic football, winning six games on the spin, including booking our spot in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup earlier this week.
Martinez has expressed his delight at being back here at United, with full focus now turning to our clash with Pep Guardiola's side this weekend.
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''Yes, of course. It would be lovely to be able to enjoy it [my birthday],'' Martinez admitted in an interview with ICS, as he looked ahead to Saturday's 189th Manchester derby and any personal satisfaction at his latest landmark that may follow on Wednesday, although we now have a fixture that day, in London, at Crystal Palace.
''But it's a derby and you always have to try to win these games.''
Having recently returned from Qatar a World Cup champion, Martinez has been lauded by the United faithful, none more so than prior to our 3-0 home win over Bournemouth earlier this month.
Marking his first start back with a typically assured display against Charlton Athletic just two days ago, Lisandro once more helped ensure our defence remained unbreached, as we safely secured our progression to a last-four tie with Nottingham Forest.
The former Ajax man was keen to reveal his happiness from his country's achievement, insisting he is now fully focused on delivering more success here in M16 this season.
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''It's just pure joy. I'm extremely happy,'' he said, when asked about winning the recent tournament with Argentina.
''I really can't put into words what it feels like to be a world champion but it's crazy. I'm enjoying every second so I'm really happy.
''Now I'm [back] here at my club and giving everything. It's been strange [having the World Cup during the season] but, as a player, you need to adapt because it's something you can't control.
''As I say, we need to be ready and push forward, that's all.''
Lisandro Martinez is the cover star of the new edition of Inside United, the official club magazine.
The popular defender has provided us with an exclusive interview about what winning the World Cup really means to him, as well as incredible insight into his background growing up in Argentina, and why he is so proud of the country's huge achievement.
The magazine is available from the kiosks at Old Trafford on Saturday as part of a double deal with the programme for a joint-price of only £7.