Written by Olaleye Oluwadamilola
Aston Villa’s goalkeeper, Emi Martinez has denied any rumors of rift between Kylian Mbappe and himself following Argentina’s Qatar 2022 World Cup triumph.
Martinez was caught in the row of mocking antics after Argentina won on penalties against the 2018 champions depicting the PSG star with a baby doll.
The golden glove winner has now confessed that he won’t mock someone who scored four goals past him putting to bed any reports of conflict between the pair.
Mbappe scored a hat-trick and converted his penalty in the shootout, but it was not enough to see his side win successive World Cups.
Martinez was ultimately one of the biggest heroes for Argentina, saving Kingsley Coman’s penalty to help secure his country’s third World Cup title.
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Despite the historic win, Martinez received widespread backlash for his wild celebrations – in which he called for a minute’s silence for Mbappe in the dressing room and later held aloft a baby doll with the striker’s face on it.
While Martinez won the golden glove award for the best goalkeeper of the tournament, Mbappe went home with the golden boot despite France’s loss.
Martinez was one of those who consoled the PSG star after France’s wrenching loss where they saw their World Cup defence hopes crumble before their very eyes.
Mbappe dismissed Martinez’s actions by claiming that he was not bothered by them when he returned to club actions after the World Cup break.
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And now Martinez, in a quoted interview with France Football has finally addressed his bizarre mockery of Mbappe.
“I held it [baby doll] for like two minutes and I threw it away, that’s all”, said Martinez.
“How can I make fun of Mbappe? He scored four past me. Four goals in a final! He must think I am his toy baby! I have huge respect for Mbappe.”
The former Arsenal goalkeeper also revealed what he said to Mbappe while consoling him.
“I told him he should be proud of himself and keep his head high, because he played a fantastic game and that he was one of the best players in the world,” he added.
“He was flying, we could not stop him.”
Martinez – who started dancing when Real Madrid star Aurelien Tchouameni put his penalty wide in the shootout – also made a lewd gesture when he was awarded Golden Glove trophy for keeping the most clean sheets in Qatar.
He was pictured making the gesture with the prestigious trophy as he held it over his private parts.
Martinez has since explained that he did it because French fans were booing him during Argentina’s thrilling final win.
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