By Biodun Busari
Former English and Arsenal football legend, Paul Merson has criticised Argentine goalkeeper, Emiliano Martinez for mocking Kylian Mbappe after Argentina beat France at the World Cup in Qatar.
Martinez had a good outing for the Albiceleste at the World Cup, keeping three clean sheets and making great saves in the penalty shootouts.
Read also: ‘It’s our destiny,’ says Argentina goalkeeper Martinez
He, then, was awarded the Golden Glove as the best goalkeeper of the tournament.
In the final game, Mbappe posed a threat to the Argentine team as he scored a hat-trick in a 3-3 draw thriller.
The French forward won the Golden Boot award after scoring eight goals.
According to Marca, the rift between Martinez and Mbappe began after the latter claimed European countries were better prepared for the World Cup because they play “high-level matches all the time.”
Martinez disagreed and he said before the World Cup, that Mbappe “doesn’t know enough about football.”
The Aston Villa goalie, after their World Cup victory also taunted Mbappe in the dressing room as well as carrying a doll with his face on it.
Speaking on this on Saturday, Merson slammed Martinez’s attitude, adding that it could be one of the reasons why Mikel Arteta let him go for £17 million in 2020.
Merson said, “Emiliano Martinez mocking Kylian Mbappe during Argentina’s World Cup celebrations showed a lack of class.”
“You’re talking about one of the greatest players in the world – what do you want him to do, laugh and joke when he loses the biggest game in football?” He added.
The pundit also said, “I’m not a huge lover of Martinez, people say he’s a great goalkeeper, he did make great saves in Qatar but I’m not his biggest fan. Prior to the tournament, his best football was played during lockdown with Aston Villa.
“Arsenal obviously saw something when they let him go as they weren’t exactly rolling in world-class goalkeepers.
“Martinez was ripping it up at the time but they still decided to sell and keep Bernd Leno. You wonder if that kind of attitude was the reason.”
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