Martin looking for German suitors
Craig Butler's Phoenix All Stars Football Academy's reputation is to produce, fast, exciting, skillful attacking footballers. But every team needs a 'water carrier', and in central midfielder, Ricardo Martin, St Andrews have a player willing to do dirty work with little or no recognition. However, he will be travelling across Europe seeking more recognition as he looks for a new club next season.
Martin's agent, Butler, said the player will do preseason training in Germany, where they believe he can excel. "Ricardo is a rare talent. A lot of clubs are looking for that type of player.
"In Germany, he can handle the game there and a couple clubs there need a player like that, so we are looking to get him preseason there. But if not Germany, there is a club in Turkey (Fenerbahce) that is looking to sign him," he said.
Martin is one of the fiercest competitors in the Maltese Premier League and at 29 year old he hopes a preseason trial with Germany's Hamburg will prove fruitful.
"This is my second year in Malta. The first season wasn't good. I took it for granted but got the experience and we have a good manager (Butler), who took us through and now I am far better with St Andrews," he said.
"My first season with Mosta, I wasn't there for preseason, so I was a new player. But this season I was there (St Andrews) before, and the team bonded," he said in explaining why his second season was better than the first.
Although the hard tackling midfielder knew he was having an impact, he did not know the magnitude of his contribution.
"I was talking to the coach about an important game and didn't know he was checking stats. He told me I won 85 percent of my challenges. That was very pleasing, because there are a lot of talented players in Malta, so to be winning 85 percent my duels is good," he stated.
Martin, had long aspired to play professionally overseas. He represented Seaview Gardens FC, Harbour View FC, Boys Town FC and Santos FC in the past, but said Phoenix made the difference in his career.
"When it wasn't working out, I joined Phoenix, and it has made a major difference. From the first day I joined, I knew what I was about. Opportunity favours the prepared man and I am prepared, so when the opportunity comes, I can take it," he said.