Argentine goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez has denied making fun of Kylian Mbappé following the Albiceleste’s victory in the World Cup final against France.
Then, after consoling Mbappe on the pitch, Martinez called a minute’s silence for the PSG striker amidst some wild celebrations in the dressing room.
A day later and during Argentina’s trophy parade, the Aston Villa goalkeeper trolled Mbappé carrying a doll that had the Frenchman’s face.
It’s been nearly two months since the final in Qatar, and now Martinez has claimed he didn’t target Mbappé during the celebrations.
Speaking to France Football about the doll’s situation, he said: “I held (the doll) for a couple of minutes and threw it away, that’s all.
“How can I make fun of Mbappé? He scored four against me. Four goals in a final! He must think I’m his toy baby! I have great respect for Mbappé.”
“It’s a locker room thing,” he said. “I never should have left. When France beat us in 2018, I remember there were chants about Messi (involving N’Golo Kante). Same thing, if a team beats Brazil, they’ll be chanting about Neymar.
“There is nothing personal against Mbappé. I respect him a lot. If people sing about him or about 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 by himself. I had confirmation that he has immense talent. When Messi retires, I’m sure Kylian will win a lot of Balls d ‘Or prizes.
Emi Martínez on what he said to Mbappé:
“I told him that it was a pleasure to play against him and that he almost won this match by himself. He has immense talent. When Messi stops, I’m sure Kylian will win a lot of Ballon d’Or.” pic.twitter.com/z4JKKnxWoQ
— All about Argentina 🛎🇦🇷 (@AlbicelesteTalk) February 10, 2023
“I spoke to him after the match,” Mbappé told reporters in December. “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.”