Aston Villa’s Emi Buendia desperate for more Argentina caps after taste of international football


Emi Buendia’s ten-minute taster of life with the Argentina team has left him itching for more.

“It was one of the proudest moments of my life,” the Aston Villa midfielder says about his first and so far only senior international outing back in February.

“There are a lot of Argentinians in the world, so to be selected as one of the 40 players is amazing,” he continued.

Buendia is both nervous and excited about Sunday’s World Cup Final with France and will be watching it from home with friends and family.

He’s been in touch with his team-mate Emi Martinez across every day of the tournament.

“Of course, it is going to be an important game for the country,” he says.

“The team are going to make every Argentinian in the world proud. To reach another final is so difficult so hopefully on Sunday they can win and bring the trophy to Argentina.

Defiant in his support, the 25-year-old is also still clearly disappointed not to have been a part of the squad, though, especially after making his debut in the qualification win over Colombia, and missing the next two games through suspension after failing to comply with the FIFA’s Covid-19 protocols.

Buendia was in good form for Villa at the time of his last call-up but missed a run of subsequent games for his country after becoming a bench regular at his club under Steven Gerrard.

“I tried to work hard to be a part of this World Cup but it wasn’t possible, but I will keep going and working for the next tournament and try to be there,” he says.

The challenge Buendia faces will be made even tougher if Argentina see off France to win the World Cup for the first time since 1986.

Enzo Fernandez and Alexis MacAllister, rivals in his attacking midfield position, have taken their chance and are on the verge of history.

Yet Buendia’s support remains unwavering towards his country, his friends with the team and Lionel Messi, the man he says is the “best player in the world.”

Speaking after Villa’s 1-0 friendly defeat to Villarreal, Buendia added: “Emi Martinez tells me the players are enjoying this crazy feeling now,”

“They are preparing for probably the most important game in their lives.

“He deserves to be there. The last two or three years he has worked hard to be there.

“He prepares very well and is focused in every game. I don’t know about this game. It is a World Cup final but he is definitely going to enjoy it.”

Buendia believes Martinez, his close friend is at the very top of his game right now.

“There have been some very good goalkeepers at this World Cup but I think Martinez is the best in the world right now.

“He has shown his personality by showing everyone in the world what he can do.

“He won the Copa America and was Golden Glove. He equalled a clean sheet record here at Villa in his first season. He is the main No.1.”

The early signs under Unai Emery are that Buendia will fit in well. He started in the wins over Manchester United and Brighton & Hove Albion before the break and was Villa’s best player in the 1-0 friendly defeat in midweek.

“We have been working on a new style (4-2-2-2) under the manager,” he says.

“He’s explained very well what he wants to do for us. I  feel very good to receive balls in-between the lines. I have a strong relationship with Douglas Luiz and Boubacar Kamara and they know how to find me.

“I feel so good about it.”

(Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images)


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