Manchester United: Anthony Martial admits ‘I lost my love for football’ while at Old Trafford


There’s something a little different about Anthony Martial as he sits down at Sevilla’s training ground to chat about life away from Manchester United. He’s smiling for a start.

Those who know Martial well at United would say this is nothing unusual. His mood behind the scenes is said to differ from the image of a sullen Frenchman whose body language on the pitch often comes across as less-than-positive.

‘Horrible’ was how former United striker Dion Dublin described it after a Carabao Cup defeat to West Ham in September, and there are times when you wonder just how much Martial actually likes playing football.

Anthony Martial is back smiling again as he continues to enjoy himself on loan at Sevilla

It's in stark contrast to the forward's mood at parent club Manchester United earlier this term

It’s in stark contrast to the forward’s mood at parent club Manchester United earlier this term

‘It’s just because people don’t really know me,’ he says before facing West Ham again on Thursday, this time in the colours of Sevilla in the last 16 of the Europa League.

‘Sometimes you see me and I’m not smiling, but in life ask everyone: I’m always smiling.

‘It doesn’t reflect how I feel because on the pitch I try to do my best. I’m not smiling but I’m just focused. People can think what they want, it’s okay for me.’

In fact, a desire to play more is what led Martial to ask to leave United in January and join Sevilla on loan until the end of the season. The 26-year-old had lost his place in the team and, increasingly, his love of football.

‘For me, it was the best option to play and enjoy football again. I lost it a little bit in Manchester because I was not playing,’ says Martial.

See also  Footballer suffers a cardiac arrest on pitch and dies at a stadium where there was no defibrillator

‘I feel very good in Sevilla. The city is very good and we are a good team so, for me, it’s perfect. I’m playing so I’m happy.

‘But I’m here just until the end of the season and that’s it.’

Martial has admitted he lost his love for football while at the Red Devils and wanted to leave

Now that is not the case in his new surroundings

Martial has admitted he lost his love for football while at the Red Devils and wanted to leave

Martial will return to United this summer with two years left on his contract. How much longer he wants to stay at Old Trafford is another matter.

A career in England that started so well in 2015 after he became the most expensive teenager in history by joining United from Monaco for a fee of up to £58million had stalled by the time Martial met with new interim manager Ralf Rangnick to discuss his future in January.

The two men had clashed after Rangnick said Martial refused to be part of the squad to play Aston Villa, a claim the player publicly denied.

He was, however, determined to leave United after six-and-a-half seasons. The club’s 23-goal top scorer in the 2019-20 campaign had found the net just eight more times in his next 48 appearances.

‘I asked United to leave because I wanted to play,’ says Martial. ‘I still have a contract but they know what I want, so we will see at the end of the season.

Martial says he told United manager Ralf Rangnick that he wanted to leave the club

Martial says he told United manager Ralf Rangnick that he wanted to leave the club

‘When he (Rangnick) arrived, my objective was to leave. I told him I wanted to leave and that’s it.

See also  Soccer Champions Tour 2022, Kick-off at 7:30 AM IST, Follow Live score:

‘He talked to me and said, “if you want to stay, with the way you train you will play if you keep training like that”. But I wanted to have a new atmosphere and a new club.’

Martial has scored one goal in six games for Sevilla, starting the last two on the bench after recovering from a hamstring injury.

He has settled into Julen Lopetegui’s side and is overcoming any language problems with the help of France team-mate Jules Kounde. Winning back a place in the national side before France defend the World Cup in Qatar this year was another incentive for changing clubs.

He has settled into Spanish side with the help of France team-mate Jules Kounde (right)

He has settled into Spanish side with the help of France team-mate Jules Kounde (right)

‘I didn’t really know Jules, but now I know him more,’ says Martial. ‘I also have some players speaking French and English so it’s better for me because my Spanish is not great. I try to learn a little bit, but it’s difficult because the time is very short.

‘The World Cup for me is an objective. I want to be part of this group and that’s why I’m here today because I want to play and show I can be in the squad. I need to show my quality and score goals.

‘Sevilla put a lot of intensity into pressing without the ball. That’s what he (Lopetegui) asked me to do and I try to do. He’s a good manager. You can see him on the line, he always lives the game. That’s good for the players, it gives you energy.

‘In Spain, I think all the teams try to play. They are very technical and try to have possession. In England, it’s a little bit different. It is faster and more physical. For me, I just try to adapt and enjoy myself.’

The 26-year-old harbours hopes of earning a recall to the France squad of the Qatar World Cup

See also  Joe Hart reveals heartbreaking conversation with Pep Guardiola that ended his Manchester City career

The 26-year-old harbours hopes of earning a recall to the France squad of the Qatar World Cup 

The aim for the rest of the season is to help his new club hold onto second place in LaLiga behind Real Madrid and qualify for the Champions League, while maintaining a proud record in the Europa League. Sevilla have lifted this trophy a record six times and are hosting the final in May.

They hold a one-goal advantage over West Ham from the first leg in Spain last week, and Martial’s record versus the Londoners – six goals and five assists in 14 games – is better than against any opponent except Everton.

So does he return to England with a point to prove to his critics? The smile turns into a laugh. ‘I’m just going there to win and help the team qualify,’ he says. ‘I don’t care what people say about me. Really.’



Source link