Martin Braithwaite ambitious, wants to stay beyond 2024

Barcelona's Martin Braithwaite (L) on the ball, followed by Real Madrid's Casemiro (R) during the Clásico encounter, on February 29, 2020 / GETTY IMAGES EUROPE
Barcelona’s Martin Braithwaite (L) on the ball, followed by Real Madrid’s Casemiro (R) during the Clásico encounter, on February 29, 2020 / GETTY IMAGES EUROPE

Barcelona’s new man, Martin Braithwaite, is very excited about his move to Barça, and wants to be part of ‘one of the best teams in this generation’.

Martin Braithwaite was Barcelona’s emergency signing, following Ousmane Dembélé‘s injury. What initially seemed like an injury scare, turned out to be an injury keeping the Frenchman sidelined for over five months.

This allowed the Catalans to trigger a clause allowing them to sign a player who either was unattached or contracted to a club in Spain. After much thought and talk, the club’s choice ultimately was the Danish forward, Martin Braithwaite.

The player’s debut was in front of his new home fans, with Barcelona facing Eibar Although the striker only got 18 minutes to play, in what ended up being a 5-0 thrashing, he impressed fans around the world with his dedication, speed off and on the ball, and intelligent movement.

Since then, the player featured in two more fixtures, namely against Real Madrid at the famed Santiago Bernabéu, before going back to the Camp Nou to face Real Sociedad the following week, where he was in the starting lineup for the first time since his signing.

The coronavirus pandemic since put the league season to a halt, and the player has gotten a new haircut, and rather than lacking motivation, his desire to return and perform for Barça has only grown stronger.

Looking back on the move and what preceded it, the former Toulouse-man kept his cards at arm’s length, and did not want to celebrate something before it was certain to happen.

“I just felt, you know, that I am going to wait and see how this goes. If it is gonna get 100 percent serious, then I will let [my wife] know, but there’s no reason to get people around me excited. I got excited, but I knew if I told people they were gonna be talking about it every day,” the Esbjerg-born forward told ESPN, in an interview published Wednesday afternoon.

“For me, I was at Leganés, I had to perform. When I am at a place, I give it 100 percent, so I did not want to put my mind elsewhere,” he added.

The striker has been happily married to Anne Laure Louis, a French journalist and businesswoman, since the summer of 2019, and the pair had their fourth son, Valentino, brought into the world, last Saturday.

However, despite his close relationship with his wife, the player was reluctant to tell her anything regarding his potential move to Barcelona until it had materialized.

“Usually I tell everything to my wife, but she only knew three days before I signed because it suddenly got leaked in the media. It got leaked in the morning and I didn’t see her until the evening, when I told her I had to talk to her. She knew why. She understood,” a happy Braithwaite said.

The move came as a sudden blow to Leganés, who were fighting to avoid relegation from the Spanish top flight, and losing a striker of Braithwaite’s caliber, with him having played a big part in their campaign, was not easy. The clause, unfortunately for Leganés, did not allow them to sign a replacement, which caused a lot of controversy for fans of the league.

Despite the move and the circumstances in which it took place, the player has nothing but respect and affection for the club that signed him in 2019 from Middlesbrough, after having had him on a loan spell.

“I cannot speak highly enough of that club. It was really special for me and the way they treated me when I had to leave — sometimes when you leave a club, you can leave with mixed feelings, but they totally understood me.”

“They said this is a chance, a chance [that comes once] in a lifetime, so you have to take it. They would have done the same. Of course they felt it was not fair they could not go out and get a replacement, which I understand, but at the end of the day they were really, really nice to me,” Braithwaite explained.

The contract Braithwaite signed with Barça saw him tied until 2024, but the striker is determined to stay for longer than that.

“I am sure I am going to stay even more than four-and-a-half years that’s how I see it in my head. Right now, I just want to go and play and enjoy and win titles with this team because that’s what I am here to do,” the 28-year-old striker said.

“For me, at Barcelona, I am looking at all these legendary players that played here, and all the periods where they had some of the best teams, and for me one of the goals is to be able to say I played in one of the best Barca teams in a generation,” he continued.

“I want people to be able to look back at the team I played in and say ‘Yeah, that was one of the best teams there have been in Barca’s history.’ That’s a huge motivation for me and it comes with a lot of hard work, but I am willing to put in the work. I am just excited,” he added.

Before moving to Barcelona, the Dane had played for several clubs around Europe, having spent time at Toulouse, Middlesbrough and Leganés after moving from the club in which he was a homegrown talent, the Danish Superliga club, Esbjerg.