Emiliano Martinez has explained his celebration that made headlines around the world as he collected his World Cup Golden Glove award.
The 30-year-old Argentina goalkeeper was one of the stars of the final, denying France’s Randal Kolo Muani at the death in extra-time, to ensure his nation picked up the trophy for the first time since 1986.
He then saved from Kingsley Coman in the penalty shootout to ensure his nation secured a third World Cup triumph with Argentina winning 4-2 on penalties after a 3-3 draw.
After keeping three clean sheets in Qatar, he was given the award for the best goalkeeper at the tournament.
However, he was spotted making a rude gesture with his prize, as he held it over his private parts.
Martinez, though, has since revealed he did so due in response to France supporters.
“I did it because the French booed me. Pride does not work with me,” he told Argentine radio station La Red.
Martinez came into his own during the penalty shootout, and made gestures to the crowd to make more noise after saving Coman’s spot-kick.
The Aston Villa goalkeeper did admit that France pushed his side all the way, as they kept coming back into the match.
“We suffered a lot. We thought we were in control but they managed to come back,’ he added.
“It was a very complicated game. Our destiny was to suffer.
“They had one last chance to win [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.”
Martinez then made sure the coveted World Cup trophy was safe on the flight back to Argentina, posting pictures of him with it, strapped in to its seat.
And in the victory parade in Buenos Aires, was spotted holding a doll with Kylian Mbappe’s face stuck to it.
Martinez was at the heart of the immediate celebrations as players joked about holding a minute’s silence for the France striker. Clearly he took exception to Mbappe’s pre-fight comments that a European team were going to win the World Cup.
“He’s a personality, he’s a character,” his manager at Oxford Chris Wilder told talkSPORT.
“All the best ones are… he’s now taken that to the international stage and truly believes he’s arguably the best goalkeeper in the world and I don’t think anybody could deny him that at the moment.”
Meanwhile, Danny Murphy believes Martinez’s crass World Cup celebrations could come back to haunt him in years to come.
Speaking on White and Jordan, the former Liverpool and England midfielder said: “I think it is important to win with some class and dignity.
“I’ve got no problem with what he did on the penalties, you’ve got to be bold enough to take that. It’s just the way that football is.
“I’ve got a problem with what he did with the golden glove and the silly thing about Mbappe.
“I’m surprised that some of the things weren’t nipped in the bud more quickly by his teammates.
“I haven’t seen all of it, but all I can say is that I don’t agree with it at all because they’ve won. They’re going to be lauded and eulogised about.
“Martinez was superb. He had a brilliant tournament and his save late in extra-time will go down as one of the greatest saves in history.
“You’ve got a few years ahead of you in the international game and in the club game when he could face Mbappe, it could come around and bite you.
“Even if you’ve got a dislike for someone, which I don’t think he has, you’ve won. That’s it.”
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