Lisandro Martinez reacts to Old Trafford welcome after World Cup win

Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez was at Old Trafford on Tuesday night for the first time since becoming a World Cup winner with Argentina, receiving a rapturous reception from fans.

Martinez had already become a fan favourite among United supporters as a result of his successful first few months at the club following a £57m summer switch from Ajax.

Critics initially highlighted the 24-year-old’s physical stature as a potential weakness, but he has long since displaced club captain Harry Maguire and is part of Erik ten Hag’s preferred centre-back pairing alongside Raphael Varane.

Martinez was given extended leave after the World Cup, missing the recent Premier League wins over Nottingham Forest and Wolves. But he back this week and was afforded a few minutes off the bench with United cruising at 3-0 up against Bournemouth.

Wearing his World Cup medal, Martinez was re-introduced to the Old Trafford before the game.

Taking to social media later, he said there were ‘no words’ to describe what the reception meant.

The player added, “Thank you to Old Trafford, my teammates and the staff for this amazing reception. Feels great to be back & winning!”

Martinez is only the fifth person to win the World Cup while a Manchester United player after Sir Bobby Charlton, Nobby Stiles, John Connelly (all England, 1966) and Paul Pogba (France, 2018). Raphael Varane also has a World Cup winner’s medal but was a Real Madrid player at the time.

Former United Women players Tobin Heath and Christen Press have won four World Cups between them with the United States, but again joined the club after winning their medals.

Speaking about Martinez’s success, United boss Erik ten Hag said, “It is a reward and I think he deserved it. I think it was a great performance from the Argentinians in the World Cup.

“I think it showed when you act as a team and you play proactive football, when you have the winning attitude [you can be successful]. He was part of it and played a massive role, and now we value that, and he got a reward, and I really enjoyed it.”