Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira believes Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez’s “stupid” celebrations have tarnished Argentina’s World Cup final win.
Martinez was a key figure in Argentina’s victory over France.
He made a fine save to deny Randal Kolo Muani in extra-time and then denied Kingsley Coman in the shoot-out in Qatar as Argentina won a thrilling final.
But the keeper was then seen making a crude gesture after winning the golden glove trophy for the best goalkeeper at the tournament.
Then, during Argentina’s victory parade in Buenos Aires, he was seen holding a baby doll with its face covered by a photograph of France star striker Kylian Mbappe, who scored a hat-trick in the final but still finished on the losing side.
Vieira, a World Cup winner with France in 1998, was unimpressed by Martinez’s antics.
“Some of the pictures I saw from the Argentinian goalkeeper, I think, take away a little bit what Argentina achieved at the World Cup,” said Vieira a pre-match press conference ahead of Palace’s Premier League match against London rivals Fulham.
“I don’t think they really needed that.
“You can’t control sometimes people’s emotional decisions. But that was a stupid decision, I think, from Martinez to do that,” he added.
Martinez will return to Birmingham next week, with Villa manager Unai Emery intending to talk to the 30-year-old about his controversial behaviour.
“When you have big emotion, sometimes it is difficult to control it,” Emery 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.”
French sports minister Amelie Oudea-Casteran was scathing about Martinez’s conduct, saying: “I find it pitiful.
“It’s just vulgar, inappropriate, really not up to the occasion. This Emiliano Martinez is not distinguishing himself. It is rather pathetic.”