Low profile, without making a sound, reached the Copa América and scored the first goal against Argentina.
Roger Martinez ran like an excited child. His teammate Luis Fernando Muriel had just left the field limping, in pain, when Queiroz screamed, "Roger, Roger", and Roger, who was on the side doing the emergency warm-up, came towards him, took off his overalls. eager-his team was with 10 players, there was no time to lose-, he received the instructions and entered to be the hero, to get a goal to Argentina, to build the second, to direct the first win of Colombia in the Copa America. Roger did not expect that unforeseen opportunity, but he did not miss it.
He only waited 14 minutes in the reserve bench. When Muriel fell and began to complain of pain, he already knew that it was his turn, it is the natural change, the two fought the post in the attack before the start of the Cup.
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He waited until the 25th minute of the second half to hit that ball, then went to celebrate, and again ran as a child, happy, happy, euphoric, it was his first goal in an official competition with the national team.
"It was something I thought before the game, score a goal. I hooked up and took out the shoe and went inside. It's something that produces a lot of happiness, "said Roger when he was besieged by the press.
Roger Martinez is one of the new attackers of the National Team. New because although it has already been, since 2016, it has not been consolidated. He has made the line behind Falcao, of Bacca (at the time), now of Duván Zapata and he was on the heels of Muriel. This Saturday was his first great match with the team: goal, dynamics, power, imbalance, award for the best player of the game for the organization of the Copa America ... He missed out on shoulders, but is that so far a game. There is still a long way to go, but he won the position, not only because Muriel is no longer there, who was left out of the tournament because of his injury, but because of everything he showed. At the end of the game, his name was mentioned in the corridors of the Fonte Nova Arena, in the press room, in the surroundings. Roger, Roger, Roger.
-But how does that kid play? -Said an Argentine journalist- Where did he play in Colombia?
- Started in Racing, he did not play in Colombia - one Colombian answered -.
Roger is 24 years old, he is from Cartagena, an introverted boy at press conferences, very serious. His career started in Argentina, it was in Racing de Avellaneda, where he had his debut and his explosion. Then he played in Santamarina and Aldosivi, before returning to Racing, with more experience. But there he did not delay, he already had a market.
-Ah, is the same kid who left for China ?, but if he had everything to shine in Europe, said the Argentine. He is a barbarian player.
-We talked about 9 million euros, how could he not leave?
Roger accepted the proposal of Jiangsu Suning, of Chinese football. And if in Colombia it still did not sound, I would not play in China. However, he was summoned for the Colombia National Team that played the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, so his name began to be better known. He played three games in the Copa America Centenario, three games in the tie to the World Cup in Russia. He scored a goal in 2016, in a friendly against Haiti. He was taking his steps. Then he went to Europe, the Spanish Villareal, with 8 league games, and currently in America of Mexico, where he has 34 games and 10 goals. His best moment coincided with the arrival of Queiroz to Colombia. He entered his radar immediately.
Almost not going to the Cup
Roger Martinez was not a fixed one for the Copa America. It was not in the first call of Queiroz, for the friendlies in Asia against Japan and Korea. It appeared among the 40 preselected, without raising many expectations. "I have gained experience and maturity in Mexico. That is why I say that the call is given to me at a good time. When you do things right, things come, "he said at that moment, as if to defend his call.
Finally, he was among the 23 chosen. But before the friendly against Peru an unexpected problem arose, a scandal broke out that involved him. A personal issue, a demand for food, a ban to leave the country. Until the last moment his trip to Lima for the friendly was in see.
But he traveled, played for a while in the friendly in Lima and arrived in Brazil as an attack alternative. It was not a fixed letter for the owner. There was Muriel, with more experience and shooting on the team. But Roger was ready, he was waiting for his moment, that's why when he entered the court he was connected. As Queiroz himself said: "Roger was prepared to assume the responsibilities of his function."