Barcelona and Manchester City target fuels controversy after criticizing former club

Newly signed Athletic Bilbao defender Inigo Martinez has reportedly accused his former club Real Sociedad of blocking a move to Manchester City and Barcelona.

Spanish defender Inigo Martinez has made headlines recently for claiming that his former club, Real Sociedad, and its President had purposefully prevented the defender from joining newly crowned English Champions Manchester City and La Liga Champions Barcelona. Moreover, the Spaniard has sparked controversy after moving from Real Sociedad to Basque rivals Athletic Bilbao in January in order to replace defender Aymeric Laporte, who left for Manchester City for a fee of 65 million euros.

Martinez had looked set to join Barcelona in the previous transfer window whilst playing for Real Sociedad only for the deal to collapse at the final moment. Moreover, the 27-year-old had been strongly linked with a move to the Premier League. Apparently, the deal failed to materialize with the defender blaming club President Jokin Aperribay for the failed deal.

While speaking to Diario de Gipuzkoa, the Spaniard said: “You see they [City] are really interested, they give the ‘okay’, but strange things happen. You’re already pissed off and you wonder if it’s chance. Well, no, it wasn’t chance. The same thing happened with Barcelona, it seemed. If I was annoyed before, that finished me.

The ‘no’ from Barcelona wasn’t because of a Real issue, although they tried, but because of an internal issue at Barca. Here, though, the non-consideration on City’s part was motivated 100 per cent by some position at Real that I prefer not to comment on.”

Martinez has created quite a stir amongst Real fans after joining rivals Bilbao for a fee of 32 million euros. Furthermore, Real has offered its fans to exchange shirts bearing Martinez’s name with any shirt with a name of their choice. The Spaniard also did not hesitate to take a swipe at his former club’s position in the league saying, “I’m going to a big club; here, it’s not enough to finish mid-table.”

With the comments made by Martinez, it is no doubt that next season’s Basque derby will have its own share of controversy.

Author’s take:

Though the Basque derby has been known for being a comparatively calm and friendly derby, things will get heated up with the drama involving Martinez and Real Sociedad. Having played for the club for most of his career, the Spaniard will be in for a hostile reception in the next edition of the Basque derby.
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