Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira says Emiliano Martinez made a ‘stupid decision’ with his behavior towards Kylian Mbappe.
The Aston Villa keeper repeatedly took aim at Mbappé after his Argentina side beat France on penalties after a 3-3 draw in Sunday’s World Cup final.
Martínez first called for “a moment of silence” for Mbappé during the locker room celebrations after the match in Qatar, before continuing in the same vein when Argentina returned to Buenos Aires for a victory parade.
There, Martínez was carrying a doll with Mbappé’s face glued to it, although he was standing next to the Frenchman’s Paris St-Germain team-mate Lionel Messi.
Martínez – who also caused shock with an obscene gesture with the Golden Glove trophy when he received it after the final – was heavily criticized, and Noël Le Graët, the president of the French Football Federation, wrote a letter to his Argentinian counterpart. , Claudio Tapia, to complain.
Vieira, who won the World Cup with France in 1998, took aim at the keeper and said he tainted Argentina’s success.
“When you talk about the abuse and comments he received after the World Cup, I think it hurts the game and himself,” Vieira said.
“Some of the photos I saw of the Argentine goalkeeper took away a bit from what Argentina achieved at the World Cup. I don’t think they really need it.
“You can’t control people’s emotions or decisions sometimes, but it was a stupid decision by Martinez to do that.”
Vieira’s comments came after the French Football Federation lodged an official complaint over Martínez’s continued taunting of Mbappé.
“I wrote to my counterpart in the Argentine Federation,” said Le Graët West France. “I find these excesses abnormal, in the context of a sports competition, and I find it difficult to understand. This is going too far. Mbappé’s behavior was exemplary.
The French sports minister also suggested that they could file a formal complaint against Martínez’s actions.
“I do not rule out discussing it with my counterpart,” Amélie Oudéa-Castéra told RTL Radio. “I find it all quite pitiful,” she added.
Martínez became one of Argentina’s heroes, first for making a superb save in the final moments of Randal Kolo Muani’s extra time and then for his antics in the penalty shootout.
Martínez saved from Kingsley Coman and then used a number of intimidation tactics – including throwing the ball as he approached the penalty spot – which appeared to lead Aurélien Tchouaméni to shoot wide.
Argentina won the shootout 4-2 to lift their first World Cup since 1986 and spark wild scenes of joy in Argentina.