Emiliano Martinez has claimed he wasn’t targeting Kylian Mbappe during Argentina’s World Cup celebrations.
Martinez was a key figure in La Albiceleste’s celebrations after defeating France on penalties in the final in Qatar.
The Aston Villa goalkeeper’s playmaking skills were crucial in the shootout before he sealed the Golden Glove win in unmistakable fashion. He was filmed asking for a minute’s silence for Mbappe, then appeared on the team bus with a baby doll covering Mbappe’s face.
However, Martinez insisted that his attitude was not planned and that he was successful against Mbappé in the final.
He told France Football: “I kept it [the baby doll] for like two minutes and threw it away, anyway.
“How can I laugh at Mbappe? He scored four goals from me. Four goals in the final! He must consider me as a game! I have a lot of respect for Mbappe.”
Martinez was one of the first to console Mbappe after France’s defeat. The Paris Saint-Germain striker scored before netting in the shootout, leaving Les Bleus 2-0 down at half-time and losing 3-2 in extra time.
“I told him he should be proud and hold his head high because he played a great game and is one of the best players in the world,” Mbappe said after the World Cup final.
“‘He’s flying and we can’t stop him.’
Mbappe himself denied any interest in a fight with Martinez in December: “It’s not my problem.