Lionel Messi watched Emiliano Martinez hold a doll with Kylian Mbappe’s face on it during the homecoming parade from the World Cup victory in Argentina.
Martinez was pictured cradling the toy baby – complete with diaper, with Mbappe’s face glued to his head – during an open top bus parade in Buenos Aires on Tuesday.
The goalkeeper raised his eyebrows when he made the obscene gesture seconds after lifting the Golden Glove trophy in Sunday’s World Cup final presentation. He later claimed it was a response to French taunts.
His latest act is likely to heighten tensions between Argentina and France and Messi’s presence as Mbappe’s team-mate at Paris Saint-Germain raises questions over the couple’s return to the French capital club next month.
Mbappe, who scored a hat-trick in the final and still ended up losing, was the subject of another blow from Argentina’s players the day after the final in Doha. They marked their victory by holding a ‘moment of silence’ for the striker in the dressing room after the game.
Other celebrations saw a staff member plunging headlong into a trash can and Argentine players chanting about “f—ing journalists” in the media area of Lusail Stadium. Martinez has become a focal point for some of the most questionable behavior over the past 48 hours. He was hailed as a hero for his role in the shootout, which took place after the game ended 3-3 in regulation time.
The Aston Villa goalkeeper saved a Kingsley Coman penalty and had an influential impact on a missed second. He was pictured throwing the ball away as Aurélien Tchouameni expected it to be returned to him. The French midfielder subsequently put his penalty aside.
Martinez then shocked millions of viewers when he held the goalie trophy, a giant gold-plated hand, to his groin and waved it on the podium. He later said he “did it because the French booed me. Pride doesn’t work with me.
Argentina’s victory parade in their capital was set to be scrapped due to safety fears, with the players being evacuated in helicopters.
Analysis: Messi and Mbappe may not be teammates any longer
By Jason Burt, Chief Football Correspondent
The future of Messi and Mbappé is not yet decided. Neither will be going anywhere until the summer, but both have made it clear they want to see how PSG’s latest bid to win the Champions League goes before deciding whether to stay.
Too bad Christophe Galtier, the head coach of PSG who must now manage the reintegration of the two superstars – and their third, Neymar, whose World Cup ended in bitter disappointment in the quarter-finals against Croatia – to the approach of the club’s next Ligue 1 match. December 28, at home in Strasbourg.
Messi’s World Cup triumph is sure to hurt Mbappe, who is rightly considered the best player in the world right now and whose ambition is burning brightly. But there has never before been any lasting animosity between the two players. They are not friends insofar as Mbappé is close to Achraf Hakimi, especially because there is a 12-year age gap, but there is mutual respect and admiration. Neymar, who is 30, is much closer to Messi than Mbappé – as evidenced by his exclusive interview with Telegraph Sport – and given their history at Barcelona, that’s no surprise.
Mbappé and Messi are not friends, but there is no hostility either. There is a much cooler relationship between Mbappé and Neymar, who used to be close, with the temperature dropping even further after Mbappé signed his new contract last May.
This caused consternation in Spain, where Real Madrid had convinced themselves he would join them on a free transfer. PSG maintain they were always sure he would stay.
There have been outlandish claims about the level of control Mbappé now has at PSG, but it’s fair to say he’s the club’s most influential player – just like he is with France. At the same time, PSG are well aware that this could be his last season with them and after securing him on a new contract, until 2025, they are ready to sell if he wants to go and they receive an offer. appropriate.
What would that be? A senior PSG source told Telegraph Sport: “If people realize how valuable Kylian is today, they will realize how important he is for the club.
“With Kylian, it’s huge. The value of Kylian? 300 to 350 million euros. They [Madrid] offered more than us and he chose. This is the biggest statement. He chose here and it was not a question of money.
But maybe it will be next year. PSG are relaxed about it, especially after the October crisis when Mbappé made it clear he wanted to leave in the January window because by then he felt his relationship with the club had broken down. .
Sources close to Mbappé have claimed promises made to him have not been kept, mainly the intention to sign a No.9 so he does not have to play as a central striker, which which became evident with his infamous “pivot gang” post on Instagram. This has led to tensions with Neymar and sources have claimed Mbappé regrets signing his new contract. It has since calmed down, with PSG believing it was a cry for help.
The situation with Messi is also clear for PSG. They and sources close to the Argentine categorically reject reports that he will accept a deal to join Inter Miami at the end of this season.
When the claims were made last month, PSG even double-checked with Messi’s camp and were assured that they were solely focused on the World Cup and that, as he told them in pre-tournament talks, he would be ready to stay another season in Paris if the conditions are met. There is already an option for him to do so.
It may also depend on how PSG perform in the Champions League, although Messi has told the club he enjoys working under Galtier and they are reasonably confident he will stay. At the very least, they’re adamant that he hasn’t decided his future.
Inter Miami, which is partly owned by David Beckham, has made no secret of its intention to sign Messi. Beckham also has close ties to the Qataris, having played for PSG, and worked as a controversial £150million ambassador during the World Cup. The Qataris would be surprised if a deal was made behind their backs with Messi.
A version of this comment was first posted last week