At the tender age of 17, Carlos Martínez made his professional debut for Cádiz, playing the last 13 minutes of a 2-0 loss at Castellón.
Since then, he has gone on to play in Austria, El Salvador, Lithuania and Chile, but it hasn’t been all smooth riding.
In this interview, Carlos details his journey in football, including Cádiz’s broken youth system at Cádiz, an unwanted move to Austria, and the dire finances of Spain’s Segunda B.
Image via Marca
When did you make the decision to pursue football and what motivated you to do so?
Football was a part of me since I was a kid, I used to play every day in the street. Playing with my friends, when you notice that you can do things that others can’t, that’s the moment when you think that you will play professionally.
When you are a kid you think that if you are good you will be professional. The reality hits later – when you see that a lot of things influence your dream of being a footballer and getting the success that you think you could get.
Cádiz has a fantastic academy that produces world class players – would you agree or disagree?
Cádiz produce a lot of good players but in my opinion they don’t give any chance to us. In Cádiz you can find players with incredible technique because we are used to play futsal when we are little – and I think that this helps developing your technique and dribbling.
Every kid from here that has had success leaves Cádiz before became professional. There is the example of Suso, he is now in Milan and is successful…if he was still in Cádiz people here would said that he is too young to be an important player for the first team.
Thank God he went to Liverpool’s academy at the perfect moment!
How did it feel like making your debut for the senior team at such a young age?
It felt very good, I remember every Thursday we were playing against the first team and we would kick their ass! One of those Thursdays, I noticed that García Remón (ex-coach of Real Madrid’s Galácticos) was looking at me and speaking with Vicente del Bosque.
I had a feeling that they were talking about my performance that day – the next day I received an unexpected knock on my door – it was my under 17 coach. He told me to get ready – you’re travelling with the first team today!
I had to call my dad because he was working and I remember that my voice was trembling when I was talking to him.
What were the first thoughts in your mind when RFE Vöcklabrucker asked for you? Was it difficult leaving Spain?
I wanted to leave because Cádiz was in a very bad situation and they were offering me, and every player under 18, a salary of 60 euros per month. And that moment for personal reasons I needed to live in my own house and it just wasn’t an option to stay.
Austria was not what I really wanted…I was thinking more about a Premier League reserve team or something similar. I remember that I went on trial and they loved me…my agent and my father pushed me to go but to reality my heart didn’t want it.
You’ve gone on to play in El Salvador, Lithuania and Chile – what motivates you to take up offers from different countries?
Spain was, and is, in a bad economic situation…the Segunda B is a league with very good players but some of them don’t get paid.
There have been times where I was getting paid every four to five months and the salary was ridiculous. The situation forces you to find another job and you can’t focus 100% on what you want.
So when the opportunities came to leave Spain I didn’t even think twice.
Do you think you adapted better in South America or in Europe?
I think I adapted quite well everywhere. I like European football more – but one of my dreams was to play in Brazil, so…
What are your plans for the future?
It’s been a year with no team. Football is a business and at the moment nobody wants to give me an opportunity. It’s hard because you train hard to keep yourself fit but no one cares…they just care about your statistics in the last six months.
It’s sad because I feel that I’m in the best moment of my career and that this is a talent that is being wasted. It’s hard to wake up every morning and see my football shoes and think that nobody want to gives me even a trial to show my worth.
What do you do in your free time?
I workout, I read books and I’m working in a online shop…www.shopfama.com, I love digital design, so I’m working on that too.
A huge thanks to Carlos Martínez for doing this!