Emiliano Martinez finally breaks silence on Kylian Mbappe feud, he's denied everything
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Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez has denied mocking Kylian Mbappe in the aftermath of La Albiceleste's World Cup final win against France.
The 30-year-old's controversial antics, both during and after last year's final at the Lusail Stadium, divided opinion. He used a series of mind games to unsettle France as they stepped up to take their spot kicks.
Then, after consoling Mbappe on the pitch, Martinez proceeded to ask for a minute of silence for the PSG forward in the middle of some wild dressing room celebrations.
A day later and during Argentina's trophy parade, the Aston Villa goalkeeper trolled Mbappe by carrying a baby doll that had the Frenchman's face on it.
It's been almost two months since the final in Qatar, and now Martinez has claimed he didn't target Mbappe during the celebrations.
Speaking to France Football about the doll situation, he said: "I held it [baby doll] for like two minutes and I threw it away, that's all.
"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."
Martinez, who was accused of cheating during the penalty shoot-out against France, also defended their post-match dressing room antics.
"It's a locker room thing," he said. "It should never have come out. When France beat us in 2018, I remember there were chants about Messi [involving N'Golo Kante]. Same thing, if a team beats Brazil, they'll be singing about Neymar.
"There's nothing personal against Mbappe. I respect him a lot. If people sing about him or Neymar, it's because they are top players.
"After the final, I told him that it was a pleasure to play against him and that he almost won the match on his own. I had confirmation that he has immense talent. When Messi retires, I am sure Kylian will win many Ballon d'Or awards."
Emi Martínez on what he said to Mbappé:— All About Argentina 🛎🇦🇷 (@AlbicelesteTalk) February 10, 2023
“I told him that it was a pleasure to play against him and that he almost won this match alone. He has an immense talent. When Messi stops, I'm sure Kylian will win many Ballon d'Ors.” pic.twitter.com/z4JKKnxWoQ
France lodged an official complaint after feeling as though Martinez had overstepped the mark but Mbappe was seemingly unfazed by Martinez's actions, and issued a mature response.
"I talked with him after the match," Mbappe told reporters in December. "I congratulated him. For him it was a life goal. For me too, but I lost, so I have to be a good sport. Celebrations are not my problem, I don’t waste time on such trivial things."
Last month, Mbappe appeared to mimic Emiliano Martinez's controversial World Cup gesture in a surprise move.
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/emi_martinez26 - BBC Sport
Topics: Emiliano Martinez, Aston Villa, Argentina, Premier League, Kylian Mbappe, France, Football World Cup