The celebrations of the Argentine national team players after winning the World Cup in Qatar sparked widespread controversy. A week after the final match against France, the criticism in the football world, and even from the French country’s government, is still going strong.
The one who has been criticized the most is Emiliano Martinez. The Argentine goalkeeper shone in the penalty shootout, as he saved Koeman and Tchoamene’s kicks. The goalkeeper didn’t wait until the end of the game to get people talking. In the middle of the shootout itself, he danced to celebrate one of his saves; Something unusual.
This dance was the least controversial. During the ceremony of handing over the Golden Glove award to the best goalkeeper in the World Cup, the Argentine put the trophy on his thighs and made an obscene gesture, in front of everyone on the podium. Martinez justified his gesture afterwards, saying, “I did it because the French booed me.”
Despite the fact that Kylian Mbappe was the most outstanding player for the French national team in the final, scoring three goals and perfecting his penalty kick in the penalty shootout, it was his name that was mentioned most often by Argentine players in their celebrations. Emiliano Martinez sang a song in the locker room in which he mocked Mbappe: “A minute of silence… for Mbappe, who died.”
Not content with the Aston Villa goalkeeper, against the French striker, Emiliano appeared with a baby doll at the celebration in Buenos Aires in front of millions of Argentines. Put on the face of the doll a picture of the face of Mbappe.
Despite the fact that he no longer belonged to the national team after his retirement, Sergio Agüero was one of the heroes of those celebrations. The former player accompanied his compatriots to the ceremony in the locker room, and in a direct message on Instagram he mocked Real Madrid player Eduardo Camavinga.
A few hours later, Agüero justified his words after receiving countless criticisms. And he wrote on his Twitter account: “It was just a joke .. Do not make up problems.”
The football world is “sick” of Emiliano Martinez
Many active and retired players have criticized the Argentine goalkeeper’s attitude. One of the first to do so was the world champion. The response of Adel Ramy, one of France’s players who won the 2018 World Cup in Russia, was the strongest yet.
The former Sevilla and Valencia player called it “the biggest bullshit in world football. And the most hated players,” in some “stories” on his Instagram account. Ramy explained that Yassin Bono is for him the one who deserves the golden glove, and he also responded to his mockery of Mbappe: “Mbappe shocked them so much that they celebrated the victory over our team more than they celebrated the World Cup itself ….”
Criticism of French football did not stop there. Patrick Vieira, the 1998 world champion and current coach of Premier League club Crystal Palace, was more “correct” than Ramy in his criticism.
“Some of the pictures I saw of the Argentine goalkeeper detracted a bit from what Argentina achieved in the World Cup,” said Vieira. I don’t think they need to. Sometimes you can’t control people’s emotions or their decisions, but it was a stupid decision on Martinez’s part.”
On the other hand, former Scottish player Graeme Souness focused on the “Debo” gesture when he picked up his award for the best goalkeeper in the World Cup: “I can accept those antics (in the penalty shootout), to a certain extent. but what? We have to talk more about the rude gesture he made after receiving his trophy for the best goalkeeper of the tournament.”
After the World Cup, it’s time to return to club football. Aston Villa returns after the break with a league match against Liverpool on Monday the 26th. Given the barrage of questions, Unai Emery had to speak at a press conference about the position of his goalkeeper in Argentina’s celebrations.
“When you feel strong emotions, sometimes it is difficult to control them,” said the Spanish coach. The former Villarreal coach revealed that he did not like his goalkeeper’s attitude very much: “I will talk to him next week about some of those celebrations, but I have to respect what he does when he is with his country’s national team. When it is under our responsibility we can talk about it.”
It is not surprising that many criticisms of Emiliano Martinez’s position came from the world of football, but the issue went beyond sports to become a “state matter” in France.
Noel Le Graet, President of the French Football Federation, sent a complaint in a letter to his Argentine counterpart, in which he said: “These abuses are unnatural within the framework of a sporting competition. It goes too far,” he declared in an interview with Ouest France.
The French Minister of Sports, Amelie Audia Castera, also condemned the behavior of the Argentine national team and praised Le Graet’s initiative: “You have to ask the Argentine Federation for clarifications, and in fact, Noel Le Graet did it. It seems to me, “It’s unfortunate the way this Argentine team behaved after this victory.”
The minister was even tougher, accusing the Argentine fans of racism. “I reacted immediately when the Argentine fans’ chants included racist attacks against some of our players, like Koeman. They are unsportsmanlike winners. There is inappropriate mockery and unacceptable racism. Emiliano Martinez, it’s absolutely pathetic.”
The issue went beyond pure sports, and escalated to the French Ministry of Economy. Bruno Le Maire, the finance minister, told FIFA: “These are undignified insults, and what does FIFA do? Sport is a matter of fair play and showing respect to others, and also showing respect to the losers.”