Emi Martinez from Argentina expressed his views on Kylian Mbappe’s future Ballon d’Or chances and discussed his World Cup rivalry with the French forward.
The Argentina goalkeeper sparked controversy when he held a doll with Mbappe’s face during an open-top bus parade in Buenos Aires, celebrating their 2022 World Cup triumph.
Additionally, he purportedly motivated his teammates in the dressing room after defeating France in the 2022 World Cup final to sing a “minute’s silence” together, and then allowed a moment for the goalkeeper to exclaim, “For Mbappe, who has perished!”
Nevertheless, Martinez attempted to downplay his actions as a playful gesture and stressed that he holds nothing but admiration for the Paris Saint-Germain striker.
Martinez claimed that he has a lot of respect for Mbappe
He continued to express his admiration for the forward during the 2023 Ballon d’Or ceremony, where Mbappe secured third place behind Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland.
Emi Martinez told L’Equipe: “It is not for 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 man.
“Kylian is an example to follow. He is phenomenal. Winning a World Cup, playing in the next final and scoring a hat-trick… All French people should be proud to have a player like him.
“When Leo (Messi) and (Cristiano) Ronaldo will retire, Kylian will follow the same path as them. He will win a lot of Golden Balls.
Despite his evident disappointment at not winning the Golden Ball, Mbappe displayed his sportsmanship by sending a “you deserve it” message to Messi after the Argentine clinched his eighth Golden Ball trophy in Paris on Monday evening.
At the age of 24, he will compete for the award next year, as he will have the chance to lead PSG to their inaugural Champions League title, in addition to aiming for success in Euro 2024 and the 2024 Summer Olympics with the French national team.
Mbappe will make his return to the field against Montpellier on Friday evening in Ligue 1, while Martinez and his Aston Villa teammates have a scheduled match against Nottingham Forest in the Premier League a couple of days later.