Yashin Trophy winner Emiliano Martinez (31), who mocked Kylian Mbappé (24) after Argentina’s World Cup final victory over France in December, struck a much more respectful tone when speaking about Les Bleus’ captain at the Ballon d’Or ceremony earlier this week.
Martinez mocked Mbappé in the wake of Argentina’s World Cup final victory. The Paris Saint-Germain forward netted past Aston Villa goalkeeper Martinez on four occasions during the final (including once in the penalty shoot-out). Post-match, Martinez called for a minute’s silence for the now-France captain before immediately breaking that silence and leading the chants in the dressing room. He then posed with a doll of the Frenchman during the trophy celebrations back in Argentina.
Martinez made an apology of sorts in February, stating that he “didn’t want to hurt anyone” and that it was just “a joke” with his teammates that should “never have left the dressing room.”
However, the Yashin Trophy winner spoke much more highly of Mbappé in Paris. The PSG forward came third in this year’s edition of the Ballon d’Or, behind Erling Haaland and winner Lionel Messi, however, Martinez has backed Mbappé to win the prestigious prize “lots” of times in the coming years.
“It isn’t because of nothing that he is considered one of the best in the world. I have a lot of respect for him as a player and as a person. Kylian is an example to follow. He is phenomenal. Winning a World Cup, and scoring a hat-trick in the final in the following edition, all the French people should be proud of a player like him. When Leo (Messi) and (Cristiano) Ronaldo retire, Kylian will follow the same path as them. He will win a lot of Ballon d’Or,” said Martinez.
GFFN | Luke Entwistle