Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez has explained his shocking trophy celebration after the World Cup final was in response to France supporters booing him.
After another stunning penalty shootout performance, and a crucial save in extra time to deny France a winner, the Aston Villa goalkeeper was awarded the tournament’s Golden Glove award.
After accepting the award on stage, the 30-year-old lowered the trophy to his groin and thrust it towards the crowd – a repeat of his controversial celebration having picked up the same accolade at the Copa America last year.
Last night’s edition however was a response to jeers Martinez received from the French support.
Explaining the gesture, he told Argentine radio station La Red, via AS: ‘I did it because the French booed me. Pride does not work with me.’
It wasn’t the only controversial incident of the night involving the former Arsenal goalkeeper who also took aim at Kylian Mbappe during the dressing room celebrations.
The Paris Saint-Germain star scored a superb hat-trick, winning the competition’s Golden Boot with eight goals in the process, and converted his spot kick in the shoot-out.
Martinez however saved Kingsley Coman’s effort before appearing to put off Aurelien Tchouameni, who fired wide with Gonzalo Montiel going onto score the winner for La Albiceleste.
In one video shared on social media during the wild dressing room celebrations, Martinez was seen asking his team-mates for a ‘minute’s silence’ for Mbappe before the players continue to revel in their first World Cup triumph since 1986.
‘We suffered a lot,’ Martinez said post-match. ‘We thought we were in control but they managed to come back.
‘It was a very complicated game. Our destiny was to suffer.
‘They had one last chance to win [when he saved Randal Kolo Muani’s late shot], luckily I was able to stop it with my foot.
‘This is a moment I’ve always dreamed of living, I have no words for it. I left very young for England and I would like to dedicate this victory to my family.’
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