Mercilessly mocked by the man he scored three goals against in the World Cup final but nonetheless lost to, as France fell to Argentina on penalties after a thrilling 3-3 draw, France striker Kylian Mbappe has dismissed taunts from Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez as “futile.”
Martinez, who was beaten for a fourth time by Mbappe during penalties, called for a minute of silence for the French star during his team’s dressing-room celebrations in Qatar and posed with a doll depicting the Paris Saint-Germain player during Argentina’s victory parade in Buenos Aires.
Now back with PSG, Mbappe was asked about Martinez’s mockery after his club’s 2-1 win over Strasbourg on Wednesday. “The celebrations, they’re not my problem,” Mbappe said. “I don’t waste any energy on such futile things. What’s important for me is to give the best of myself for my club, and we’re looking forward for Leo [Lionel Messi] to return to continue scoring and winning matches.”
With Martinez set to return to Aston Villa this week, the star goalkeeper may be forced to rein in his behavior as manager Unai Emery has said he will speak to the keeper about his actions. “When you have big emotion, sometimes it is difficult to control it,” he said. “I will speak to him next week about some celebrations but I respect that he is now under the national team and when he will be with us, he is our responsibility then we can speak about it.”
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When he returns to PSG, Martinez’s Argentina teammate Messi will likely attempt to make nice with Mbappe as they still have games to win. Regardless of what Messi says or whether Martinez’s taunts continue, the loss in the World Cup will still haunt Mbappe even though he won the tournament’s Golden Boot with eight goals.
“It was the quest of a lifetime for [Messi], for me also, but I failed, so you must always remain a good sportsman,” the 24-year-old said. “Personally, I will never come to terms with it. My club are not responsible for this failure with the national team, I try to come back with the most positive energy possible.”
That’s the spirit.