Commanding. Pivotal. Tenacious. Javi Martinez has become the complete anchor midfielder.
By Dominic Vieira
He’s worth every cent of the €40m paid for him last year by Bayern Munich, a Bundesliga record that not even Gotze managed to smash only a few hours ago. On a night when two titans clashed, an imperious and brilliant Bavarian side thrashed Barcelona 4-0, with Javi Martinez making a name for himself.
Although the praise naturally revolves around Muller and Robben, who were the fire behind Bayern’s clinical destruction, Javi Martinez was flawless. He was omnipresent throughout the 90 minutes, constantly closing down his opponents, dominating in the air and never missing a tackle. It was a rock-solid performance that became his first win over Barcelona and has now virtually placed Bayern with a slot in the final.
In fact, it was Bayern’s second victory over Vilanova’s side, with the first being last summer’s signing of Martinez. A physical, dynamic player they much needed and were determined to make a ‘blaugrana’, but his fairly high release fee clause ruled them out of the race. For once, Barcelona did not have the financial power at their disposal and opted for a more feasible option, Alex Song.