Half Mag / Half Zine

The Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez and midfielder Emi Buendía have travelled to join the Argentina squad ahead of their World Cup qualifiers, the club have confirmed.

After the Tottenham manager, Nuno Espírito Santo, revealed the north London club were trying to “anticipate the damage” of Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso defying Premier League rules by joining up, Villa announced that Martinez and Buendía had also left for South America. Premier League clubs agreed last week to refuse to release players for playing duty in countries on the UK government’s Covid-19 red list.

A statement on the club’s official website said: “Aston Villa can confirm Emi Martinez and Emi Buendía have travelled to join up with the Argentina squad with the permission of the club in accordance with Fifa’s international match call-up rules.

“Both players have agreed to make themselves available for Argentina’s vital first two World Cup qualifying matches against Venezuela and Brazil, but will not take part in the third international match against Bolivia.”

Last week, Premier League clubs united in defiance of Fifa and refused to release players for international duty in countries on the UK’s red list because of the escalating row over quarantine restrictions, and the lack of exemptions for players returning from high-risk countries.