Not only usual suspects Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé stole the show during the World Cup final between Argentina and France. Emiliano Martinez (30) also contributed. The Argentinian goalkeeper showed his best and worst side on Sunday. “The French booed me.”
Three images went around the world after the World Cup final. Lionel Messi with the World Cup – of course. A deeply disappointed Kylian Mbappé – also logical. And less expected: Emiliano Martinez and his obscene gesture.
The Argentine goalie was awarded the trophy for the best goalkeeper of the tournament after the World Cup final and found nothing better than to celebrate that award in front of the whole world by depicting the trophy as a genitals. “I did that because the French booed me during the match. Arrogance does not appeal to me”, he explained afterwards as an explanation for his celebration.
Copy of Copa America
However, Martinez was not ready for his test piece, because even after the overall victory in the Copa America last year, he made a similar obscene gesture with the trophy in his hands. And during the festivities in the dressing room after the World Cup final, the Argentinian goalkeeper showed his most unsportsmanlike side by poking fun at Mbappé and asking for a minute’s silence for the French attacker.
However, he had just gone to comfort a disappointed Mbappé himself. But it should be clear that Martinez is not a softie. Not next to the field and not on it. This was also apparent during the penalty shootout in the World Cup final. First he saved Kolo Muani from the winning goal with a world save at the end of extra time. Then he stopped a penalty from Coman and got into Tchouaméni’s head with his psychological games so that he aimed wide. When the young Frenchman asked for the ball, Martinez ostentatiously threw the leather away to distract him. With success, after which Martinez unpacked with a dance.
A tried and tested recipe that he already applied in the quarterfinals against the Netherlands. Even then he regularly teased the players of Orange and turned out to be the hero of the penalty shootout with two stopped penalties. Virgil van Dijk and Steven Berghuis grit their teeth on the Argentinian goalie.
All this earned him the trophy of best goalkeeper of the World Cup on Sunday. Nevertheless, a punishment, because Martinez actually only broke through in 2020, at the age of 28. For almost ten years, Arsenal loaned him to clubs such as Rotherham, Sheffield, Wolverhampton and Reading. Only when the current goalkeeper of Aston Villa replaced the injured Bernd Leno at Arsenal in 2020 and did so with verve, things started to move forward. It earned him a transfer to Aston Villa, where he finally became first goalkeeper at the age of 28 and in June 2021 Lionel Scaloni called him up for the national team for the first time. Scaloni had tried seven goalkeepers in his first 49 matches as Argentina coach. Until he finally found his number 1 with Martinez.