Paul Merson criticises Emi Martinez's antics against Kylian Mbappe
The Aston Villa goalkeeper had a fine campaign for the Albiceleste at the World Cup, keeping three clean sheets and starring in the penalty shootouts. He won the Golden Glove as well, and there’s not a lot you can say about his goalkeeping.
However, some of his antics after the game have come under immense criticism. Merson seems very annoyed as well.
Paul Merson criticises Emi Martinez’s antics against Kylian Mbappe
The feud between Martinez and Mbappe began after the latter claimed European nations were better prepared for the World Cup because they play “high-level matches all the time”. (Goal)
Martinez did not agree and has been having a go at Mbappe since. Before the World Cup, he said the Frenchman “doesn’t know enough about football.” (Goal)
After the tournament in Qatar, he has gone a step further with taunts in the dressing room as well as carrying a doll with Mbappe’s face on it.
Arsenal legend Merson is far from pleased and has claimed that Martinez’s attitude could well have been one of the reasons why Mikel Arteta let him go for £17 million (BBC) in 2020.
He wrote in The Daily Star: “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?
“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.”
Martinez spent over a decade at Arsenal, but he only played regularly after Leno got himself injured in the second half of the 20219/20 campaign.
The Argentine excelled for the Gunners and helped them win the FA Cup and the Community Shield.
After Leno returned from his injury, Arsenal had to make a decision as both players wanted the number one role. Arteta picked the German, and that opened the door for Martinez to leave the club.
We don’t know if his attitude had anything to do with Arteta’s decision, but it has to be said that things have worked out for all parties now, two years after his exit.