Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez has again courted controversy, this time for mocking France striker Kylian Mbappe during Argentina's victory parade in Buenos Aires on Tuesday. Martinez, who won the golden glove, was pictured holding a Mbappe doll next to Lionel Messi on the team's open-top bus during Argentina's victory parade.
This came on a day Mbappe celebrated his 24th birthday. However, this isn't the first time Martinez has mocked Mbappe. He had earlier made fun of the Paris Saint-Germain superstar in the dressing room immediately after Argentina's penalty shootout victory in the final. Similarly, in the lead-up to the summit clash, Martinez resorted to playing mind games by targeting Mbappe.
Martinez's Rude Joke
Martinez reignited his feud with the France striker as La Albiceleste continued their celebrations after landing in Argentina on Tuesday morning. Martinez was pictured flashing a doll with Mbappe's face painted on it while it was being carried in the victory parade through the streets of Buenos Aires on Tuesday.
What made the situation more awkward was the fact that Martinez was standing beside Mbappe's PSG teammate Lionel Messi. Interestingly, the day filled with celebrations in Argentina also coincided with Mbappe's birthday.
Despite being one of the first to comfort Mbappe following France's heartbreaking loss at the 2022 World Cup, Martinez mocked the 24-year-old prodigy by asking for a moment of silence for the French striker.
Notably, a video from Argentina's locker room after their World Cup victory showed the entire team singing and dancing in celebration. When Martinez interrupted a planned stop with the cry, "For Mbappe who is dead!" the team could be heard chanting "a minute's silence for" in unison.
The World Cup trophy was paraded around the city of Argentina by Lionel Messi and his teammates, but it had to be stopped abruptly owing to security concerns as admirers jumped on to the open-top bus.
The triumph for Argentina on Sunday night at Doha's Lusail Stadium was significantly influenced by Martinez. At the conclusion of extra time, the goalie pulled off an incredible stop to prevent Randal Kolo Muani from scoring France's fourth goal.
He also stopped Kinglsey Coman from scoring in the penalty shootout, helping Argentina win the World Cup for the first time since 1986.
No Stopping Martinez
Martinez has been one of the biggest show-stealers at the Qatar World Cup both for right and wrong reasons. Martinez turned to mind games in the run-up to the World Cup final by picking on Mbappe. The PSG veteran was targeted by the Aston Villa goalkeeper for remarks he had made in the past regarding the caliber of football played in South America.
"He doesn't know enough about football. He never played in South America. When you don't have this experience, it may be better not to talk about it. But it doesn't matter. We are a great team, recognized as such," said Martinez.
The 30-year-old was making reference to comments made by Mbappe a few months prior in which he claimed South American nations were less prepared for the World Cup than their European counterparts.
"Argentina haven't played games of great quality to reach the World Cup. In South America football isn't as advanced as Europe. That's why if you look at the last World Cups it's always the Europeans that win," Mbappe had said.
Martinez also shocked thousands of fans present at the Lusail stadium after he made a lewd gesture after receiving the Golden Glove award for his stunning performance in the tournament.
After receiving the award, Martinez celebrated by putting the trophy â which is shaped like a hand â to his crotch and pumping.
Martinez received the Golden Glove, a prize given to the goalkeeper with the maximum number of clean sheets. The 30-year-old shook hands with Gianni Infantino and other Fifa officials before putting the gold trophy in front of his privates and pulling an odd face.
Then, when he walked back to his teammates, he made a crude gesture while holding it in front of his groin. After the gesture, one broadcaster was heard muttering, "Oh no," on the Fox coverage. On BBC, someone said, "No, don't do that, Emi. Don't do that."
It is unclear if Martinez would face any disciplinary action, although it would be surprising to see anything coming from Argentine football authorities, given that he is being helmed a hero in his country after the team's first World Cup win in 36 years.