The battle between Kylian Mbappe and Emiliano Martinez was one of the most significant talking points of the 2022 Qatar World Cup final.
Even though it was the Argentina goalkeeper who reigned supreme after helping his side win the penalty shootout, he could not stop Mbappe from putting 4 goals past him on the day.
The PSG star would go on to deliver a World Cup performance for the ages.
He helped France come back from being 2-0 down with an amazing brace to force extra time. Mbappe would then go on to complete his hat trick with an extra time penalty against Martinez.
But their battle wasn’t over just then. The Frenchman converted his penalty in the shoot too, which meant he scored past the Aston Villa no.1 on four separate occasions.
After the game, a lot of Argentina fans made fun of Mbappe for ultimately losing the war and felt Martinez’s hilarious taunts were aimed at him.
The Argentine goalkeeper didn’t really make things easier for himself, after being recorded holding an inflatable toy doll in their open bus parade that had a picture of Mbappe stuck to it. However, it appears that was just a silly mistake and Martinez does not share any rivalry with Mbappe at all.
He referenced that incident as well as the social media talk of him mocking Mbappe after the World Cup final in an interview with France Football journalist Florent Torchut, saying:
I held it for like two minutes and I threw it away, that’s all.
How can I make fun of Mbappé ? He scored four past me [his three goals and his penalty shootout in the final].
Four goals in a final ! He must think I am his toy baby (doll)! I have huge respect for Mbappé. And I’ll tell you one thing: he’s the best French player I’ve ever seen.
Martinez also opened up the famous picture of him talking to a dejected Mbappe after the penalty shoot-out win, as he said:
I told him he should be proud of himself and keep his head high, because he played a fantastic game and that he was one of the best players in the world.
I also mentioned to him that it was a pleasure to play against him, that he almost won the final alone. When Leo leaves the football, he will win many Ballon d’Or.
After showering Mbappe with praise, Martinez also teased a possible future move to PSG where he can get to play with the French forward.
Playing for PSG in the future? PSG are a great club with great players who aspire to win in the Champions League every year. Who wouldn’t love to play there? Leo is the greatest, Neymar is magic and Kylian is a machine.
Unfortunately for Martinez, Gianluigi Donnarumma has the no.1 spot secured at the Parc des Princes.
He wouldn’t want to be second-choice to the Italian, so Martinez is unlikely to consider a move unless Donnarumma moves on.
That being said, the Argentina goalkeeper appears to have become a big Mbappe fanboy after the World Cup final.
Maybe this could be the start of an unexpected bromance that will climax when the two get to play with each other in the future.