In a wide-ranging interview with France Football, Aston Villa and Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez notably discussed the legendary 2022 World Cup final back in December between France and the Albiceleste. Argentina prevailed in the shootout with the former Arsenal shotstopper proving instrumental in stopping Kingsley Coman’s penalty. Martínez went on to wildly celebrate Argentina’s third World Cup and openly mock Kylian Mbappé. The PSG and France forward mounted a memorable comeback in the final, ultimately in vain. However, Martínez spoke at length about his respect for the Paris-born striker, calling him the best French player he has ever seen.
The day after Argentina’s triumph in Qatar, Martinez was seen holding a toy baby with a photo of Mbappé stuck to its face. Videos of a fan with a burning coffin with Mbappé face stuck on it have also been shared on social media. Martínez explained to France Football that people in the crowds sent the players a hundred toy babies during the open-top bus parade. He said one of them fell at his feet, the one with the face of Mbappe stuck to it. He picked it up because he thought it was funny. “I held it for like two minutes and I threw it away, that’s all“, said Martínez. “How can I make fun of Mbappé ? He scored four past me [his three goals and his penalty shootout in the final]. Four goals in a final ! He must think I am his toy baby ! I have huge respect for Mbappé.“
The Aston Villa goalkeeper also revealed what he told Mbappé in the aftermath of the World Cup final. “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.” Martínez also told Mbappé that it was a pleasure to have played against him and that he almost single-handedly won the final. “He was flying, we could not stop him.“
GFFN | Bastien Cheval