Josep Martínez is a new Inter player



Transfer news

Jul 9th 2024
3 MIN READING

The 26-year-old Spanish goalkeeper joins on a permanent basis from Genoa


Football is a difficult sport to explain: technicality and tactics are both fundamental elements, but what often makes the difference is instinct and feeling. These are the aspects that have defined the career of Josep Martínez Riera, new Nerazzurri goalkeeper.

Born on 27 May 1998 in Alzira, Valencia, a young "Pepo" was inseparable from his football from the age of 3. His passion for the game is closely linked to his dad who played as an amateur goalkeeper. The example was set: instinct guided Martínez to throw himself to the ground with the ball, so much so that his nickname became “cigarette”. He had an innate feeling, a courage that can’t be taught: Josep wanted to come down on the ball at all costs, even paying the price of a few broken fingers.

At 5 he joined the Alzira youth sector: having grown up in Valencia, he imitated Santiago Canizares and admired Iker Casillas. He played for his city for 12 years before he physically shot up at 17 and was noticed by Barcelona. In 2015, he made a move to the Blaugrana youth set up where he spent two years learning a new style of play where the goalkeeper becomes a part of building out from the back.

In 2017, he moved to Las Palmas where he regularly started for two seasons for the Gran Canaria club’s B side in the third division, making his debut for the senior team in the Segunda Division in 2018/19. The following season, he established his place in the starting line-up of the senior side: his great performances drew the attention of Leipzig who brought him to Germany in 2020.

He grew even more once in Saxony: Leipzig became a fundamental step in his career, the great German school of goalkeeping allowed him to improve in all aspects of his game, even if he only picked up 4 appearances in his two seasons, one of which being in the Champions League game won 5-0 away to Club Brugge. Around this time, he also played his first match for the Spanish National Team, coming on in the 68th minute of a friendly against Lithuania on 8 June 2021, won 4-0.

After winning the DFB-Pokal in 2022, he moved to Genoa in Serie B. In the first part of the season, he wasn’t playing consistently, but an extraordinary performance in a win over Bari in December won him a spot in the starting XI. It was a turning point, for him and for Genoa, who flew up the table to win promotion to Serie A.

In his first season in the Italian top-flight, Josep stunned everyone with his performances: in 36 Serie A games he picked up 8 clean sheets, becoming the star of a great Genoa season as they finished 11th with 49 points.

Pepe Mel, his coach in his time at Las Palmas, described him as "intuitive, agile, and good in one-on-one situations”. Martínez is a goalkeeper gifted with great technical abilities, capable with his feet and courageous when coming off his line. These qualities were developed thanks to his instinct, the very same that had him throwing himself at the ball as a child: the Nerazzurri adventure of Josep Martínez, the sixth Spanish player in Inter history, has only just begun.


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