The Frenchman has suffered a difficult beginning to 2016-17, but a lot has happened in his life of late and a sophomore slump is perhaps no surprise as a result.
It has been a life-changing last 14 months for Anthony Martial. On his journey from young talent with Monaco to mega-money Manchester United superstar, the 20-year-old has experienced a number of highlights as well as difficulties the like of which few will ever witness.
This time last year he was United’s great hope, having come off a streak of four goals in his first four games following a transfer from Ligue 1 which may eventually cost the club over £58 million. Having seen his price tag grab so much attention, he quickly made his quality apparent as Louis van Gaal’s side began to rely on his ability in front of goal.
It was the kind of form which earned Anthony Martial a call-up to the France national team, but his break-out performance against Germany in November was quickly overshadowed by the Paris terror attacks which had targeted the game itself. For a 19-year-old of any description, this was unchartered territory.
Back in Manchester, things started to change for Anthony Martial. Not only did he find his opportunities as a lone striker reduced under Van Gaal, he also found his private life was of public interest too. When his partner Samantha Jacquelinet mistook the Emirates Stadium for Old Trafford in an Instagram post, it made news across the world. The 20th birthday cake she had made for him depicting Martial at a more accurate Old Trafford also grabbed attention.
His first season at United proved to be mixed, with FA Cup glory offset by failure to reach the Champions League, but his 17 goals in 48 appearances saw him finish top of the club’s scoring charts. It was form which saw him secure a spot in Didier Deschamps’ Euro 2016 squad, but again there was disappointment as France lost the home final to Portugal.
Everything seems to have come to a head for him since then, though. Not only has he struggled to recreate his first-season form at club level, but his private life has been the talk of the town after the breakdown of his relationship with Samantha. Her decision to sell her story resulted in Martial’s questionable behaviour being exposed, and the fallout has not painted him or United in a great light.
“I was told United was a family club but off the pitch he didn’t get any guidance. Manchester United have ruined my life,” Samantha told The Sun in August.
“Neither of us were prepared for it at all. Everywhere we went people would stop Anthony for pictures and his Instagram followers rocketed to more than two million.
“Other big clubs like to offer support to players in managing their social media but we were offered nothing. He was getting a dozen pictures a day on Instagram from girls. They sent sexy photos begging him to get in touch.”
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