Franco Armani, Emiliano Martinez, Esteban Andrada and the Argentina goalkeeper situation


Argentina national team coach Lionel Scaloni has a good problem on his hands, one which is his goalkeeping situation.

For nearly a decade, six Argentine coaches relied on the services of Sergio Romero as their goalkeeper. He was the undisputed number one, despite not playing much with his club. But when he would put his the Argentine shirt, at least as of 2014, Romero was among the best in the world in his position.

However, that certainty lead to an uncertainty once Romero stopped being selected for his country. No bigger example would be than that of the 2018 World Cup when he was dropped from the team and it was Willy Caballero who was his replacement. The only problem with that was Caballero’s time had come four years too late. He didn’t have the best of performances and was ultimately dropped for current number 1 Franco Armani who has yet to put a foot wrong in the last few matches.

But if Armani hasn’t made an error or allowed the opposition to score, why are many asking for him to be replaced? The emergence of Emiliano Martinez the last few months first at Arsenal and now at Aston Villa has caused a sudden uproar among many Argentine fans. They want the Aston Villa shot stopper to take over veteran goalkeeper Armani as Argentina’s starting goalkeeper.

But is it because of the league he plays in? The club he plays for? Is it his age? Armani has reached and won the pinnacle of South American football not once but twice and with two different teams when he lifted the Copa Libertadores with Nacional in 2016 and two years later with River Plate.

Franco Armani is 34 years of age, playing against the best strikers in South America. While some may for some reason call it a farmers league, let’s not forget that the likes of Lautaro Martinez, Neymar, Leandro Paredes, Nicolas Tagliafico, Gabriel Jesus and many other South American players played in those farmer leagues the past decade alone. Armani has already experienced a World Cup and a Copa America. He knows the pressures of big game tournaments and possibly the most important of all, he knows the pressure of World Cup qualifiers.

In contrast, Emiliano Martinez is 28 years old up and against the best strikers the Premier League has to offer. But would it and could it cause more harm than good if coach Scaloni were to select him ahead of Armani? Despite Armani being 34, he would be 36 when the 2022 World Cup rolls around. Just about the limit for a top class goalkeeper.

Lionel Scaloni has no time to experiment as there are no friendly matches set between now and the World Cup. All of South America are behind in World Cup qualifiers and the coaches don’t even have enough time with their players to train when there is a qualifier to play. It would be a dangerous game to play from Scaloni to bench Armani, despite not really putting a foot wrong.

It could also send out the wrong message for the team. And what if that gamble backfires? Should Scaloni bench Armani and play Martinez instead but the Aston Villa shot stopper doesn’t perform up to his great standards, could that not only demoralize the goalkeeper but also lower the team’s morale?

Of course the opposite could happen. Scaloni could start Martinez ahead of Armani and have the former Arsenal goalkeeper shine. But is the risk worth the reward?

Scaloni seems to have found a solid base for his team. Armani, Montiel, Otamendi, Taglifico, Paredes, de Paul, Messi and Lautaro Martinez all seem to be at the core of that base. Why rock the boat by removing a piece of that puzzle and replacing it with someone who has never held that position?

Would it not be more wise for Scaloni and his team to continue with Armani until a number of poor performances or an injury forces their hand to play Martinez? Could it be better to start with Martinez after the 2022 World Cup, despite him being 32 years old?

No one truly knows the answers to those questions. They would have to happen in order for anyone to find out. However, one would have to say that it doesn’t look likely that Emiliano will touch the goalkeeping position for Argentina anytime soon. Should Armani have to be replaced, Boca Juniors man Esteban Andrada is also there and performing at a very high level for his club. And he also has some experience with the Argentina national team.

The position is Armani’s to lose. He has played 14 times for Argentina with his debut coming in a baptism under fire situation at the 2018 World Cup when the team needed him to perform. Here are his matches:

Argentina vs. Nigeria, 2-1 win, World Cup
Argentina vs. France, 4-3 defeat, World Cup
Argentina vs. Colombia, 0-0 draw, friendly
Argentina vs. Venezuela, 3-1 defeat, friendly
Argentina vs. Nicaragua, 5-1 win, friendly
Argentina vs. Colombia, 2-0 defeat, Copa America
Argentina vs. Paraguay, 1-1 draw, Copa America
Argentina vs. Qatar, 2-0 win, Copa America
Argentina vs. Venezuela, 2-0 win, Copa America
Argentina vs. Brazil, 2-0 defeat, Copa America
Argentina vs. Chile, 2-1 win, Copa America
Argentina vs. Ecuador, 1-0 win, World Cup qualifier
Argentina vs. Bolivia, 2-1 win, World Cup qualifier
Argentina vs. Paraguay, 1-1 draw, World Cup qualifier

He hasn’t put a foot wrong and cannot be blamed for any of Argentina’s defeats. Armani has seven wins, three draws and four defeats, letting in 17 goals in the process.

Those numbers may not be the best but when looking at them individually, they aren’t bad by any means. Five of those goals and one of those defeats came against Nigeria and World Cup winners France in his first two matches for Argentina. Removing those, he would have six wins, three draws and three defeats, allowing 12 goals in 12 matches.

The team has been in desperate need of some stability in many positions and the goalkeeping position is arguably the most important one for a squad. Scaloni seems to have found a solution and a fairly good one at that for his team. There’s no doubting Emiliano’s capabilities. He may or may not be a better goalkeeper than Armani. He may or may not face tougher opposition than Armani. But to suggest to drop Armani all together for no mistake made and to lose much stability in the team because there is a goalkeeper who is performing just as well or even slightly better than him has to be considered a bit foolish. Simply because there are no friendly matches to play Martinez.

It could also be seen as a lack of respect not only towards Armani who has held his own but also towards Esteban Andrada and maybe even Agustin Marchesin who have represented Argentina before and done a good job of it. Unless Armani performs poorly, the likes of Andrada, Martinez and Marchesin will have to wait to put on the Argentina shirt.


  1. Armani gifted away 2 goals to France in WC 2018.
    Even though our defence and midfield was totally garbage. We could have still won that match….if not for armani’s performance.

    Romero is much better….
    In WC 2014…Messi and Romero were driving forces of Argentina. I still remember his awesome saves in match against Iran.

    Even Gotze goal he could have potentially stopped…..but luck wasn’t at our side that day(although I think we deserved to taste defeat after how Argentines taunted Brazil for their 7-1 loss)…..

    And I am seriously doubting scaloni….he is just playing safe…and not willing to take any risks….
    World cup is still 2 years ahead… there is plenty of time to make changes and adapt…. otherwise it would be too late.
    By taking the safe route…he showed that he isn’t a good manager…a good coach believes in his players and put them on pitch despite knowing that they could lose….but atleast the players will gain some experience and will eventually develop.

    I doubt that he is another puppet to AFA’s corrupt board…who under the shadow of Messi and other star players wants to promote their own Argentine league players on world level….
    They fail same in 2018 and it costed them big time.
    Moreover scaloni was assistant to that assh*le sampaoli….who didn’t called icardi but called meza….his own buneos Aires boys to play in national teams…..F*CK him big time.

    He should also study how other teams like Germany , England , France , Spain are developing….so that he can test his own depth with them…..
    Winning against any TOM DIK HARRY country of south America doesn’t guarantee world cup.

    Scaloni does gives me a vibe of a lethargic and demotivated person……an average coach he is!!

    We need :
    -A good goalkeeper who can command defence

    -Good defenders…who can make instant and correct decisions

    – icardi and dybala !!

    Messi magic won’t come if he has to drop deep into midfield to create chances…..

    If anyone know how does fan’s wishes get communicated to AFA….then do the required…

  2. Oh Guys! And Argentina is Going to win 2022🤣 Big Joke! Tho I’m a biggest Fan of Argentina! But Their Political Board kill the players!! What a Coach Lionel Scaloni was under Jorge Sampaoli! You know! Just Teacher like Student! Poor Messi will not win anything for Argentina😥 and people will refuse to say him GOAT! They put Armani who is 34 and they don’t call Romero! Big Mastermind! And they’ve banned Icardi who is one of good strikers in Europe (PSG) also They wasting talent of Dybala by benching him! In 2018 ! I don’t know why this fuckin’ board don’t appoint a Good Manger! There are some greatest players in Argentina and they should be their coach example : Batistuta, Bring Back Sabella or Gerardo Martino, Mauricio Pochettino, Diego Simeone!
    I’ve confirmed that this team will out from Round Of 16 (although Round Of 16 a Doubt for them) in 2022 and Poor Messi will retire that day!
    #ScaloniOut #ArmaniOut #AFADUMB

    • definitely this team cannot qualify easily. they will fight for 4th place with Venezuela, Bolivia, Paraguay.. almost
      2yrs Completed still he couldn’t find right combination. if otamendi and pazella injured beginning of the world cup2022 what scaloni will he experiment with balerdi and Lucas Martinez quarta? or Armani get injured is scaloni will call Sergio romero who got more experience with international match? there is no strategy in Argentina football.
      even you note this team wont win against Peru. Peru will win in 2-0.

  3. Argentina football team don’t deserve any Trophy & also they don’t deserve player like lo celso, Paulo Dybala, Papu gomez, lisandro martinez, emiliano martinez, lionel messi. They deserve farmer player like casco, franco armani, otamendi, Roberto peryera, Salvio, Fazio etc. Shame for Argentina. They deserve nothing in modern football

    • Otamendi is not a farmer he was a beast in Valencia he was decent in Manchester City and their main stay at the back he won premier League 2 times with city reached ucl semi with city. He is little hot headed now he is old and past his prime he can stay until copa for his experience bt he can’t be a part of wc 2022 campaign

  4. Wow suddenly Argentina fans become so pessimistic. Now Armani is their standard. Such a low standard. You want to be a mediocre side or wc winning side?? This is not the mentality of a wc contender. Armani may not had howlers bt he is a damn mediocre goalkeeper with no confidence. You want to wait for a disaster or getting knockout in a important phase to change things?? Every fan who is not blind towards Argentina domestic league can realize he is not a top team level goalkeeper. And you want otamendi armani to start 2022 wc?? Wow. Scaloni has just started ur defending him like he won copa for Argentina. He lost to a mediocre Brazilian side 2-0 that too without Neymar in their side. We still to beat a top team in his tenure. We achieved nothing in scaloni tenure so we r unbeaten doesn’t mean we are in the level of top European teams level with armani and otamendi starting at wc 2022 i would be surprised to see us in semifinals forget about winning it. If you think Argentina is not gonna win anything then u can keep playing mediocre players bt those mediocre players will not survive top european teams physicality speed technicality. Argentina has enough talent bt politics killing them if deserving players don’t get the chance thats unfortunate.

  5. No decent coach would take the risk to change the players in the middle of WC Qualifiers and especially a GK.I also want Emiliano MARTINEZ to start as GK instead of Armani but currently we are facing south american opposition not European teams in WC qualifiers and armani is undoubtedly one of the best GK at least among the south american clubs and Argentina NT is facing teams like peru, colombia,vevenzuela where most players play in local leagues hence it is appropriate for now to select armani. Hopefully in friendly matches maybe in January Martinez or Musso gets the chance to be starting GK.

  6. “Armani hasn’t put a wrong foot” should be “Armani hasn’t put the foot”. Best example is his positioning of France first goal through penalty. He got reasonable space and time at least to run for the clearance but he not even tried that. No other option for Rojo. At least one of France’s other three goals can be saved. Armani is too rigid and lack the flexibility of a goal keeper. He may be a good keeper but why every coach of us behaves as there is only one keeper. Andrada and Emi needs experience too. They may be better than Armani or worse than Armani but first they need to play. We are repeating the same mistake happened to Cabellaro. Ignoring him in his prime and pressurising all of a sudden. Keep picking players like Peryra Salvio is confusing and frustrating.

  7. These home fans of Argentina support Armani because they see him week in and week out playing in their homeland. They are used to watch average player and when they will be knocked out of any high standard competition they will cry and say that they have not won anything since 1986.
    Armani faces average player you can not say Tevez at 26 and at 36 is same player just because of he is playing in Argentina league and same for those teenage player who went to Europe to face tougher competition and for financial stability.
    Emiliano Martinez is the player we want to see shine in national jersey. Everything is favoring Emi Martinez age,skills,attitude,quality of opponents, literally everything favoring Emi Martinez except local media or local club pressure which is absolutely not going to be under his control.

  8. Never thought that dybala would grow as old as 27. Last day he turned old by a year more, but looking at him, he doesn’t look like a 27 year old man. Not through his face at all. Seems like he grew too fast for his age. With his nature and physicality he should be 24 now but nope; the man has grew older.

    Now the only hope remains is how long and when will he grow older in the Argentina starting line-up. That’s something what remains to be seen and that’s what bothers us more and more.

    • He won’t be sacked unlike Bauza he got talented players in his squad even with shit decision making and awful tactics players will bail him out.

  9. Scaloni have not much time to experiment new GK, the coach approached is always as the GK did not make a fatal error then there is no no need to be in hurry for replacement. We have to bring back our memories, Sampaoli got panic with Romero’s injury and put the wrong GK and after that Armani got the chance till now.

    Emi outstanding performance at Aston Villa and Arsenal community final is a certainly a right choice and deserved the place at N/T. It will not downgrade the morale of Armani or Andrada but it can boost the competitive spirit to select the best one, as everyone got a equal chance to play for N/T. However, the bottom line N/T challenge is just not the GK, overall playing is not yet comfortable and having difficulty to score. Inconsistency and gel among others is the most challenging topic.

    A long journey to go but time is limited and need to used more instinct and bold objective decision rather than emotional and subjective approach.

  10. Oh my God what a biased aricle. There is a reason Argentina people or supporters live upside down. Argentina must have to see opponentes at every position. Look at Allison(Brazil),Neurer or Ter Stergen(Germany),Loris(France)Muslera (Uruguay),Belgium(Courtious),Pickford(England) and many more and look at Argentina’s answer to that. Franco Armani does not have a chance against them.
    Article did not talk about capabilities,character and attitude of goalkeeper and their skill sets but talked about stability like they are the best team in the world and they got best squad.Argentina still need to improve in many positions. Armani, Montiel and LMQ are average player for God’s sake.

    • Why again negativity?AFA had given scaloni the post of head coach so definitely scaloni realize that who deserves place and who should play.. those goalkeepers who kevin mention only neurer and lloris have won the wc..if the luck wasn’t there side germany would have been beaten by Ghana and algeria in that world best keeper ghana scored 2 goals.. South Korea thrashed… Argentina group was harder than that of germany.. hadn’t Willy cabbalero error Argentina May even beat Croatia and may have reach finals..
      To that germany side without Messi Argentina draw from 0-2 least Argentina aren’t Messi dependent.. look at these qualifiers..there are 4 different goal definitely Argentina are now in a right path in the sense of Messi dependent.. Argentina beat Bolivia after 15 yrs..
      Those strong squad before haven’t been able to beat Bolivia in la Paz..if Argentina win than guy’s started to talk that Bolivia is a trash 🗑️ so no excitement..if loose than loose to mediocre team..
      Kevin sorry my friend I won’t agree with you..pls kindly arrange a friendly for your above do called big goalkeepers national team in Bolivia la paz.bolivia will kick thier ass..

  11. very poor logic.Emiliano face the world’s all deadliest shooters (Salah, Mane, Debrune, Aguero, Auba, kane etc.) on daily basis & u r comparing him with this shit.. whose positioning, confidence, intercepting r very poor not just poor u can say worst.Emi won FA cup & community sheild with Arsenal… He proved himself in those tough matches… Please Don’t show us shit logic & accept that Armani shouldn’t be on Argentina’s 23 mans squad.We have seen Armani’s body language against France in 2018 World cup. It is risk to replace farmer Armani!? are u sure? it is always a risk to play with Armani.

      • Going by the logic of stability😁😁😁 – coach shld have continued with Biglia , Mercado, Higuain etc. What a lopsided article to promote local favoritism. In the process , Marchesin also has been given good rating in NT jersey!!! Armani can be part of 23 for his big tournament experience . But to play him as a starter over Emi is so bad a proposition. A coach with a winning mentality & an eye for a strong show in WC22 would play Emiliano now & give him extra time to settle down even if there are initial hiccups. Scaloni’s aim seems just qualify for WC22 & maybe QF/SF of Copa America.

        • Amit we want a gk who can win matches for us like keylor navas, oblak, Allison, neur
          Not someone who is not even good enough to be in squad let alone starter, wow what kind of logic roy is using here, Armani could not save many shots which were easy to save , he looks nervous shaky, his reflexes and positioning are poor
          Bdw, roy is directly promoting local favouritism and internal politics
          Very much disappointed with his article, sorry bro I used to have lot of respect and helped this forum to grow by inviting many friends

          • Agree Munawar . Ur points are very valid. The 1 point in favor of Armani being in 23man squad is the big tournament experience which Emi, Musso , Andrada dont have. Keeping Armani as a 2nd or 3rd goalie in squad may not be a bad idea. Anyway barring injury or suspension – GK1 only plays the tournament.

        • Yes, scaloni is more biased in his decision and wants to qualify for qualifiers and reach as far as possible in COPA. He is not going to win anything with Armani and weak defence especially otamendi.
          Even if it’s not Martinez he can give starting sport to Musso or Andrada. Those are top 3 right now. Armani can be 4th keeper if they want. but not no1. He is a big joke and will be exposed soon.

      • This is the third time watching this highlight. We must accept the whole team is sloppy. But meza , pavon, fazio , armani , tagliafico, they are all like kids playing in adult game. They are lacking confidence and looking scare.

        I thought di maria was the worst at that time but after watching this, I realize he contribute more than any other player.

  12. Not having put any foot wrong and putting a fantastic performance is two different things.

    Those who did not forget Romero can remember what a fantastic performance look like.

    We want improvement over Armani that’s all. He is okay, but nothing spectacular. We were used to seeing spectacular in gk position in last 10 years.

    If we choose Emi Martinez, several things improve immediately : Penalty saving, distribution and shot stopping capability. And ofcourse age factor.

    Why Juventus starts Szecheny when they have Buffon? Surely when buffon plays , he does not put a foot wrong.

    Another thing, international reputation is a factor. Remember Rojo’s goal vs Nigeria? 4 Nigerian defender was following Aguero. Why? Because that name strikes fear.

  13. Great article Roy but you didn’t talk about the media influence in the national team. It was quite legitimate to point out the statistics of Armani but when you mentioned andrada( who’s also a great goalkeeper without a doubt)while explaining if something happened to Armani, I felt quite awkward. It’s not that andrada shouldn’t be ranked up but in fact, if andrada was in place of Armani I would better not have so much stress whenever there was Argentina’s match. But what bothers me is, there had been and still has strong presence of mammoth media influence on who starts and who sits. This is something you should talk about.
    The justification of Armani’s experience which you highlighted is no headbang to anyone of us, but scaloni should definitely trust the instincts of Martinez similar to how he trusted Armani in 2018 world cup. It will at least do him more than confidence boost to make him feel that, he is present and his impact and work is being valued.

  14. I don’t understand the logic behind “they are not bad by any means” to concede 17 goals in 14 matches especially for a team like Argentina. Something is a problem either defense or goalkeeper. If scaloni doesn’t fix it we will pay the price in tournaments. Hope he finds the solution soon. Is it necessary to play always the same players every game?. What if someone gets injured or out of form. It is madness to play out of form players over and over again. Considering LMQ played the full match even after arriving at camp 2 days later. we are over-relying on only a few players is a big issue with our coaching staff, then why we brought so many center-backs.
    Lautaro and ocampous are not good recently and they should be benched for the better players.
    Finally, the problem with Armani is age, Is 36 is good for goalkeepers at the world cup?. It is a huge risk considering caballero’s mistake in the last world cup.

    • 2022 WQ is belongs to brazil or italy or germany. please note it. no for argentina. they can qualify upto group 16

      2021 copa is belongs to colombia or ecuador or brazil. note it down
      we never won any title for sure with this fuck in team. AFA is not creating a any hope between the young players. all the team has ready for WC2022 except AFA.

      • On a side note on AFA’s inefficiency – Fernando Batista has been doing a great job with our U23 & we can be a solid contender for Olympics for the team chemistry that has been built up. But guess AFA will screw that up also. In this current international break – among Olympics contenders , Argentina U23 is the only contender level team not playing . Brazil, France, Germany , Spain , South Korea etc all playing. Find it tough to understand how come AFA could not even get a south American team or 2nd tier club to play some friendly for a team that is showing good promise . Is it lack of funds or plain inefficiency?

  15. Great article Roy,
    The only issue I have with Armani when compared to martinez is his age. He havent done anything wrong in his performance. Here some kids are complainig he didnt jump for penalty, I guess they havnt seen a
    penalty taking before. If anyone deserved to be axed from the team, it should be Otamendi but I am not going to cry here like the kids cry for martinez because if he can bring his experience to otherwise new backline then let him be in team.

    • I doubt you guys who blindly love Armani never see what Ter Stegen or Oblak does or even, a keeper from 2nd grade La Liga team does… Brazil sometimes keeps Alison or Ederson in rest to avoid fatigue or injury other than they play them frequently…. Don’t play an oldie from Flamengo or Santos because they were the best in Latin America…

      The thing is Willi was in red hot form in 2012-2014, but You ignored him for taking a keeper from Local Leagues ( along with Sergio Romero) and then you called Willy at the age of 34 when he’s almost finished and a bench keeper and Argentina was punished severely in the WC…

      I fear, a similar story is going to happen with Emiliano …

  16. Wow, I like these longer articles. But this seems almost COMPLETELY tailored to this comment section, which has had a lot of controversy over the goalkeepers. Roy, if you are reading comments, PLEASE GIVE US AN IGNORE BUTTON, SEVERAL MEMBERS HAVE BEEN ASKING FOR MONTHS. THIS WILL IMPROVE THE FORUM. On another note, good article. Clearly sums up all of the different view points. I agree with the reasons for why you would not play Emi right now, but at the same time, it would help to develop a core of players that includes emi for maybe Copa and obviously WC 22. We can’t keep Armani in the core until that age and time, while wasting Martinez’s talents. The WC is a high level competition. In my opinion, we should integrate Emi by the March qualifiers at the very least. What do we think?

  17. Agreed with you
    Even though I believe Emi is more Complete golie than Armani but you spot on mate with your analysis. However the Messi fan camp won’t stop shouting as they believe emi is saviour for arg nt.

    • Never seen any nation starting out of form old school gk over in form modern gk, this post is biased from roy (I hope I have freedom of speech to criticise this post) , Armani could not save many save able shots, his positioning is very poor and gets nervous, gives unnecessary long balls leading us to lose possession
      Most importantly its international football not club football we only have 12 games a year, aramini did commit errors and got saved from criticism because we didn’t concede (example in first 15 mins of Bolivia game when he tried to collect cross) , second goal was saveable he and quarta were responsibile
      If we want to win then we have to select in form players
      Alario in lautaro out
      Romero in otamendi out
      Nico in ocampos out
      Emi in Armani out

      • Bro you have freedom of speech
        As long as you not offending to anyone
        I told you yesterday where i stand of goalkeepers situation and who I perfer however my logic is Roy’s article because isn’t he is the owner this
        Forum but what he said made much more sense.
        If someone needs to be dropped is otamendi but from bottom my heart that won’t happen because coaching staff sees crucial part of thier plan’s so therefore I’m not going to shout about it. I respect myself and i do understand football too.

        • I referred freedom of speech for roy and his post not you so chill, his logic is not at all convincing, its just like starting buffon over scenzy just because buffon didn’t do anything wrong, and yes we can’t win anything untill and unless we don’t give fair chance to players
          Lastly, Armani is playing because of local favouritism there can be no footballing reason
          And you are right Romero deserves to play in place of ota and Romero’s partner should be pazella for experience

    • Haha….so you think that an Argentine league player( which is farmers league from the POV of European leagues)…at 36 would perform better than a young goalkeeper who plays in premier league ??.

      But who cares….coz if god forbids… Argentina didn’t win…then the blame will go to Messi…..

  18. I must say, Argentines are the most patient nation… they would go for 2-3 more years without any achievement with Armani… Just feeling sad for LM10… this team, this sort of people who back up a GK like Armani ( who can’t even dive for a penalty ) don’t deserve Leo Messi …

    Poor Messi… More humiliation to come for you … I bet…

  19. Now in modern football a Goalkeepers job is not about stopping shots.
    He wastes too much time on distribution when we are losing or drawing a match.
    His distribution is not accurate at all.
    Doesn’t command the Centre Backs and make sure they are making the player.

    Emi Martinez offers more than just stopping shots. You have to always go for better options. His quick and accurate distribution will help us to counter faster.

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