Why everybody loves Lisandro Martinez

Friday 10 February 2023 10:19

It’s fair to say Lisandro Martinez has become a cult hero among Manchester United fans around the world, but what are the reasons behind his incredible popularity?

Here, in alignment with our big Licha interview being published, club reporters attempt to explain why the 25-year-old centre-back is arguably the most popular player in years…


There is a quote in our big interview published today that captures exactly why I love the man from Argentina. It’s like a mission statement for life that should be framed on walls in homes and offices, and plastered across billboards for all to see. It reads as follows: “Every time I wake up and I go to Manchester to train I start thinking about my family. How can I not want to go out and 'eat' the world? With that strength, I give everything in each training session and in each game.”
Those 44 words provide so much insight into Licha’s dogged mentality and why he is such a ferocious competitor. I believe that mindset is exactly why he’s become such a cult hero at United. And at Ajax. And in Argentina. Forget that he’s a world-class defender. Forget that he can play the ball like a midfielder. It’s about his attitude and desire. His willingness to sacrifice himself for the team. He’s an underdog raging against the world, driven by his family and a desire to make them – and us – proud. As football fans, we dedicate our lives to a club - to United - and all that we ask in return is maximum effort. Win, lose or draw, nobody could ever accuse Licha of giving less than 100 per cent. 

Martinez | World Cup winner Video

Martinez | World Cup winner

Lisandro Martinez revisits his childhood in Argentina, the World Cup and how he went from bricklayer to ‘Butcher’…


There’s so much to admire in our no-nonsense centre-back, and I must admit I do love the niggle he has in his game, but something I have grown to respect so much is his consistency. This not only relates to his overall performance, and we know the last-ditch tackles, brave blocks and aggressive challenges for the ball are always going to gain the most attention. However, it’s the weight and accuracy of his passing that has been impressing me most, in recent weeks and on Wednesday in particular. 

When the team was not functioning at its best against Leeds, he was still finding his colleagues with unerring accuracy, moving us forward with his boldness in picking the right pass. It is easy to underestimate this skill but, as a defender, this is one area that has really impressed me. Licha rarely misplaces his passes and is comfortable and composed in possession, which is sometimes in contrast to the way he attacks the ball. When you combine these two elements, it is obvious to see why the World Cup winner has been such a fans’ favourite from the very outset.


Martinez possesses the qualities of a modern-day centre-back while also maintaining the grit and no-nonsense attitude that has featured in the game for decades. Unrelenting in his tackles and highly skilled on the ball, Licha is a pivotal cog in the machine that is Erik ten Hag's United.

The way he receives possession and cuts through opposition midfields is to be admired, allowing the Reds to gain a foothold in matches and maintain attacks. But the way he defends is also to be applauded. Lisandro will steam into challenges and he very rarely mistimes them, dispossessing his opponents with ease - sometimes leaving a bit on them! – to ensure United have possession. At 25, Licha has already made a mark at United, and who knows what level he could reach in the coming years.


Our no.6 epitomises what it means to represent Manchester United. Simply put, he just gets it. Often, players from European leagues take time to become acquainted with the Premier League’s high demands, but not our no.6. It is proving to be no real issue for him at all.
His cunning skillset and superb reading of the game are just part and parcel of what United fans have come to expect week in, week out. And what Licha may lack in height, he more than makes up for with his relentless aggression, courage, commitment and passion when taking to the field.

A recent World Cup winner, Martinez is eyeing further silverware at United and he has developed a strong relationship with fellow winner Raphael Varane at the very heart of our defence. It could prove to be the foundation of our success across all competitions, this season and beyond.