Even after a week of Argentina’s triumph over France in the 2022 World Cup final, the hostility between the players of both camps refuses to die down. And the man in the centre of it has been Argentine shot stopper Emiliano Martinez whose antics after winning have put him directly in the line of fire. While other footballing personalities have criticised Martinez for his endless mocking of France’s Kylian Mbappe, his Argentina cohorts have been quick to come to his defence.
A row recently erupted between 2018 World Cup winner Adil Rami and Argentina’s Angel Di Maria after the former had stated on an Instagram story that read, “The biggest son of a (b****) in football. The most hated man,” according to The Daily Mail.
To this, Di Maria would respond with,” ‘El Dibu (Martinez) is the best goalkeeper in the world. Go cry elsewhere.’ Rami would hit back on Twitter where he posted ‘Can you teach me?’ showing four pictures of Di Maria crying with the captions, ‘When you lose’, ‘when you win’, ‘when you leave a club’, ‘when you see this tweet’.
Martinez would receive more support from teammates Leandro Paredes and German Pezzella, with Paredes saying: ‘Now say it without crying Rami and Pezzella adding, ‘Get out of here,’ in reference to captain Lionel Messi’s words to Netherlands’s Wout Weghorst after the quarterfinal clash between the two teams.
A few days ago, Scottish player Graeme Souness criticized Martinez’s gesture after he received the Golden Glove trophy. The Argentine keeper placed the trophy, a giant gold hand, to his groin before emphatically waving it up above his head during the post-match celebrations.
“I can accept those antics, up to a point. But what we should be talking more about is the rude gesture he made after collecting his trophy for best goalkeeper of the tournament. Are there really people who find something like that funny? Martinez embarrassed himself and embarrassed his country. He looked like a vulgar clown. If that’s what he wants to be remembered for, god help us all,” he said.
“This in a way detracts from Argentina’s success,” said Patrick Vieira, who won the 1998 World Cup with France and is the manager of Crystal Palace. “I don’t think they really needed that. You sometimes can’t control people’s emotional decisions. But that was a stupid decision, I think, from Martinez to do that. I was really disappointed,” he had added.