Football NewsThe World Cup Animosity Between Emi Martinez and Kylian Mbappe Continues 
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Kylian Mbappe may have scored a hat-trick against Argentina in the World Cup final, but it was Argentina goalkeeper Emi Martinez who had the last laugh.

The World Cup final was billed as ‘Lionel Messi vs. Kylian Mbappe,’ ‘Master vs. Apprentice,’ and ‘GOAT vs. Heir Apparent’.

And, as 120 of the most exciting minutes in recent history came to a close, Argentina vs. France had lived up to the hype. But as the penalty shootout began, it became evident that a new leading man was ready to take his position in the spotlight.

Emiliano Martinez had fanned the embers before kick-off at the Lusail Stadium, and he was already known for his antics and mind-games in prior penalty shootouts. This time was no exception, with Martinez saving from Kingsley Coman before watching Aurelien Tchouameni’s effort fly wide.

The Aston Villa goalkeeper appeared to be winning graciously minutes after Argentina’s World Cup victory was confirmed, soothing a dejected Mbappe. However, his demeanor swiftly evolved from humble winner to boasting champion.

Mbappe subsequently became the focus of much of his exuberant celebrations, with the jibes continuing unabated.

Months before Martinez and Mbappe met, the Frenchman aroused the anger of South America as a whole. The PSG striker stated that European teams enter at major tournaments better prepared, with more advanced football than other regions.

On the eve of the final Martinez fired back: “He doesn’t know enough about football. He never toured South America. If you don’t have this experience, it may be best not to discuss it. But it makes no difference. We are a fantastic team, and it is widely acknowledged.”

Martinez appeared to be relegated to a supporting role for much of the final. Argentina dominated the reigning world champions, cruising to a 2-0 lead. Mbappe then pulled France back into the game, scoring twice in the last minutes.

Mbappe appeared to rejoice towards his PSG teammate after the second of those goals in normal time, certainly doing little to improve France-Argentina ties.

Messi and Mbappe traded goals in extra time before scoring again in the shootout. After penalties, the veteran would emerge victorious, and with Mbappe on the ground, Martinez came over to provide solace.

Martinez, on the other hand, turned from solemn to joyous with a remarkable celebration with the Golden Glove award. Back in Argentina’s locker room, footage spread of the goalkeeper dancing with teammates before requesting a moment of silence for Mbappe.

In the days following the dramatic scenes in Lusail, both sides were flown back from Qatar. While France returned to Paris in solemnity, Argentina landed in Buenos Aires to riotous scenes of frenzied festivities.

Martinez indulged in some more Mbappe taunting before Argentina’s star disembarked for waiting helicopters after a toy of the PSG star was thrown towards him and he held it up while waving to the crowds.

While his antics have made him a national hero in his home country, to suggest they have divided opinion around the world is an understatement. Many neutrals have questioned the wisdom of continuing to target a player who managed to send the ball past him four times during the final.

Former France player Adil Rami slammed the Argentine shot stopper, calling him “the worst son of a b**** in football” and “the most detested man.”

He further said that Mbappe “traumatized” his opponents to the point that they were only celebrating beating him and not the World Cup itself.