Emiliano Martinez’s “stupid” celebrations “took away” from Argentina’s World Cup success, according to France and Arsenal great Patrick Vieira.
Martinez saved Kingsley Coman’s attempt and watched Aurelien Tchouameni roll wide as La Albiceleste overcame France 4-2 on penalties following an entertaining 3-3 draw in Sunday’s Lusail Stadium final.
The Aston Villa goalkeeper was criticised for his gamesmanship during the shoot-out before his subsequent celebrations were thought to cross the line after appearing to repeatedly taunt Kylian Mbappe.
Martinez called for a “moment of silence” for Mbappe after his hat-trick proved in vain, while he was seen holding a bizarre puppet with the France forward’s face on during homecoming celebrations.
¡¡¡DALE CAMPEÓN, DALE CAMPEÓN!!!!
¡Gracias, gracias y más gracias!
Nos vamos llenos de amor, locos
— Selección Argentina(@Argentina)
Former Gunners captain Vieira, who won the 1998 World Cup with Les Bleus, labelled ex-Arsenal goalkeeper Martinez’s action as unnecessary.
“When you talk about the abuse and the comments that [Mbappe] received after the World Cup, I think that is damaging the game and himself,” the Crystal Palace manager said on Friday.
“Some of the pictures that I saw from the Argentina goalkeeper took away a little bit from what Argentina achieved at the World Cup.
“I don’t think they really needed that. Sometimes, you can’t control people’s emotions or decisions, but that was a stupid decision from Martinez to do that. I was really disappointed.
“I want to have a picture of the Argentina fans with the passion and the love they showed during those games. Of course, they won the World Cup, but in the stands, they were the best as well.
“I want to keep that in my mind and not think about those stupid fans who put some darkness on top of what Argentina achieved on and off the field. This is the dark side of the Argentina World Cup win.”