Ajax utility man Lisandro Martinez has lifted the lid on life as a professional footballer under the strict rules in place to help stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
The Cover-19 pandemic means football in Holland — and around the globe — is very much on hold yet the players face the daunting task of trying to stay as fit as possible as they self-isolate as best they can.
Ajax closed the Johan Cruijff ArenA and scrapped all training sessions last week amidst tight controls on social gatherings as the Netherlands tries to get to grips with stemming the spreading of the virus.
Now Martinez, who is aged 22, has revealed he is working hard to stay in shape and manages to follow the daily training regime put in place by the experts who run the fitness regime for the Sons of the Gods aces.
Martinez, who has won one international cap for Argentina, penned a four-year deal with Ajax last summer after signing from Defensa y Justicia in his home country, told Argentinian radio programme Ataque Futbolero:
“I see that the coronavirus is well managed in the Netherlands.
“Good measures have been taken. I now train at home, run in the park and follow the Ajax trainers’ schedules to keep fit.”
And Martinez — signed as a defender but who has covered for head coach Erik ten Hag (and covered well) in midfield — says he has adapted since his move to the Amsterdam giants. He added:
“I feel comfortable at Ajax. The position of central midfielder is more difficult than that of defender. You have to have talent for it, but the coach needed me in that place.”
Martinez, who had a three-year spell at Argentinian outfit Newell’s Old Boys as a teenager, has been impressed with the standard of the players at Ajax. But he says that one player in particular stands out — and, of course, it would be the player making such a headline-grabbing move away from the club this summer.
Yes, Hakim Ziyech, who will soon be joining Chelsea in the Premier League for a fee said to be in the region of £40million, is the talented star who Martinez picks out as perhaps the most gifted at the club.
To confirm his affirmation that the Morocco winger is his top pick out of his team-mates, Martinez — who won four caps for the Argentina U20s at the 2017 South American Youth Football Championship in Ecuador. — said:
“Here at Ajax everyone is really good, but Hakim dazzled me.”