Throw-In: The Javi-Love-O-Meter
When Javi Martínez joined FC Bayern in August 2012 – requested by former coach Jupp Heynckes as his ideal candidate for midfield – the Spaniard became the Bundesliga’s most expensive transfer with a fee of 40 million euros.
After a short acclimatisation period, Javi showed that he was worth every penny: the Basque player was brilliant in his role as defensive midfielder alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger and instrumental in the success of Bayern’s phenomenal triple season.
Today, Javi is one of the longest-serving players of FC Bayern, after Thomas Müller, David Alaba, Manuel Neuer and Jérôme Boateng. Of course, Javi grew older, had to overcome several injuries over the past years and is no longer part of the starting XI. His name is also included on the list of players whose contract expires in 2021 – whether he will be offered another extension is currently written in the stars.
Should Javi be satisfied with a role as substitute player, an extension of his contract would not only be conceivable, but desirable. In the past, he has often shown that he can still perform well on the pitch when he is needed, be it in defensive midfield, as full-back or even up front. But it’s more than that – Javi is extremely popular among the fans (and, presumably, his teammates).
The Javi-Love-O-Meter shows how Javi has managed to become a crowd-pleaser even off the pitch. At the same time, it is also a plea for him to stay at the club just a little bit longer.
On the pitch, Javi and Bastian Schweinsteiger complemented each other perfectly – there was no better defensive midfield duo in Europe in the 2012/13 season. Whenever Javi was asked about his congenial partner in interviews, he started to rave – something that hasn’t changed, even today: “Basti was one of the best midfielders in the world for years. He was everywhere on the pitch, had the ability to score, was good at defending. He was a complete midfielder, a machine. When you needed him, he was always there to throw a lifebelt your way.” (11 Freunde magazine, 2020) Those who do not appreciate Basti have never loved FC Bayern. Javi understood and internalized this immediately.
In December 2015, FC Bayern handed out contract extensions like early Christmas presents: Xabi Alonso was to stay until 2017, while Javi, Thomas Müller and Jérôme Boateng were tied to the club until 2021. This decision was of course also used by the club as the perfect photo op. When Alonso, Boateng and Müller came to sign their new contracts, they were all dressed up and looked extremely neat. Javi, however, showed up in his FC Bayern tracksuit.
If Javi hadn’t become a footballer, he would have liked to study journalism, as he stated in several interviews. He proved that he has a knack for writing when he contributed a monthly column in Socrates magazine. But that’s not all: Javi started to feel passionate about writing at a young age. As a teenager, he even attempted to write his own book. In an interview Javi stated jokingly, he discovered only years later that his story idea was almost exactly the same as the plot of Suzanne Collins’ three-part novel series “The Tributes of Panem – The Hunger Games.” It looks like he doesn’t need to worry about his career after football.
On the occasion of the 2018 state elections in Bavaria, Javi reminded his followers in a short but powerful Twitter video of the importance to use one’s voice and urged them to vote.
Javi has two children with his partner Aline Brum and occasionally provides insights into his family life on social media: the videos and photos he posts of and with his children are simply adorable. Regardless of how things are going for him on the pitch – he seems to have mastered the role of his life, as a father, with flying colours.
A few months ago, a series of photos collectively broke the hearts of Bayern fans: the pictures showed a despondent Javi on the bench, before the game against Hoffenheim, comforted by Hansi Flick, back then still assistant coach. Obviously, Javi had been so disappointed by not making the starting XI yet again that he couldn’t hold back his tears. Javi rarely complains publicly, so these photos were all the more heart-breaking.
When FC Bayern decided to part ways with coach Niko Kovac, many fans breathed a sigh of relief. If you believe the rumours, many players felt the same way. Javi did not have an easy time under Kovac – for various reasons – and yet he was one of the first to say goodbye to him via social media. He shared a photo of himself and Kovac shaking hands on Instagram, saying “Wishing you all the best, coach” – because why would we kick someone who’s already down?
Over the years, Javi has collected an amazing number of titles and trophies: 1x World Champion, 1x European Champion, 1x Champions League Winner, 7x German Champion, 4x German Cup Winner, 1x FIFA Club World Champion, 1x European Under-21 Champion, 1x European Under-19 Champion, 1x UEFA Supercup Winner and 3x German Super Cup Winner. Additionally, Javi claimed the 100th victory in his 120th Bundesliga game – faster than any other player before him. Nevertheless, he never let the success go to his head: today, Javi is still the uncomplicated and humorous player who arrived at Säbener Straße almost eight years ago.
In the current coronavirus crisis, normal football operations have been suspended until further notice. The FC Bayern players are doing their part to support those who less privileged in this challenging and difficult time. Javi helped the Red Cross in Munich to deliver purchases to elderly people who are not allowed to leave their homes during the pandemic. He also made his football camp in Ayegui available to the Spanish health authorities to treat people suffering from the coronavirus.
Javi’s transfer to the Bundesliga: 40 million euros. Javi’s current market value: 13 million euros. Having a guy like Javi on your team: priceless.
JAVI-LOVE-O-METER: Through the roof.