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13th Feb 2023

Emiliano Martínez opens up on Kylian Mbappé feud

Callum Boyle

Martinez made headlines for his post-World Cup antics

Emiliano Martínez has opened up on his post World Cup final antics and claimed that he didn’t mock Kylian Mbappé after Argentina’s World Cup win.

Argentina beat France on penalties to win their first World Cup since 1986 as the shot-stopper used a number of mind games to distract his French opponents and became a cult hero in his home nation.

After the game Martínez was spotted consoling the Frenchman on the pitch but his compassion soon went way as he proceeded to ask his teammates to conduct a minute of silence for Mbappé in the changing room.

His s**thousery continued as the squad returned to Argentina for their trophy parade as he held up a doll with Mbappé’s face on it.

Mbappé gave an interview in December in which he appeared to feel unfazed by the goalkeeper’s taunts.

“I talked with him after the match,” he said. “I congratulated him. For him it was a life goal. For me too, but I lost, so I have to be a good sport. Celebrations are not my problem, I don’t waste time on such trivial things.”

Two months on from the incidents, Martínez has spoken for the first time and said that he didn’t target Mbappé during the celebrations.

Speaking to France Football about the doll, he said: “I held it [baby doll] for like two minutes and I threw it away, that’s all.

“How can I make fun of Mbappé? He scored four past me. Four goals in a final! He must think I am his toy baby! I have huge respect for Mbappé.”

Emiliano Martínez

He then went on to defend Argentina’s behaviour in the dressing room after the game.

“It’s a locker room thing,” he added. “It should never have come out.

“When France beat us in 2018, I remember there were chants about Messi [involving N’Golo Kanté]. Same thing, if a team beats Brazil, they’ll be singing about Neymar.

There’s nothing personal against Mbappé. I respect him a lot. If people sing about him or Neymar, it’s because they are top players.

“After the final, I told him that it was a pleasure to play against him and that he almost won the match on his own. I had confirmation that he has immense talent. When Messi retires, I am sure Kylian will win many Ballon d’Or awards.”

Last month, Mbappé appeared to copy Martínez’s infamous celebration when he received the Golden Glove award while outside the Paris Saint-Germain training ground.

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