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Emiliano Martinez: Argentina keeper opens up on Kylian Mbappe feud

Kylian Mbappe at France
"File:Kylian Mbappe celebrating - March 2018.jpg" by Кирилл Венедиктов is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Martinez’s gestures toward Mbappe triggered widespread criticism from fans.

Emiliano Martinez has insisted he didn’t want to disrespect Kylian Mbappe with his World Cup celebrations.

Martinez was crucial to Argentina’s historic World Cup campaign in Qatar. The Aston Villa star conceded three goals from Mbappe in the final, but his penalty saves were enough to secure the title for Albiceleste.

Martinez mockingly asked for a minute’s silence for Mbappe after the game. During Argentina’s celebration back home, a fan threw an Mbappe doll at Martinez. 

“I held it [baby doll] for like two minutes and I threw it away, that’s all,” the World Cup winner told France Football.

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“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 him.”

He added: “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 was flying, we could not stop him.”

Mbappe himself seems to have moved on from the feud, saying in December: “They are not my problem. I don’t have energy to waste on such futile things.”