Football boss Noel Le Graet thinks Argentina went too far when celebrating their World Cup final win
The head of the French Football Federation (FFF) has written to the Argentina Football Association (AFA) to complain about “abnormal” and “shocking” World Cup celebrations which included taunts directed at star striker Kylian Mbappe.
The Albiceleste won their third world title at Qatar 2022 after defeating defending champions France in a dramatic penalty shootout which capped a gripping final.
Argentina’s party began in the locker room, where goalkeeper Emi Martinez proposed a mock minute’s silence for dejected French star Mbappe, whose hat-trick still wasn’t enough to win a game that ended 3-3 after extra time.
Lionel Scaloni’s Argentina team received a hero’s welcome on Tuesday in Buenos Aires, where a reported four million people lined the streets of the capital before the squad had to be evacuated by helicopter.
At one point in the proceedings, shootout hero Martinez celebrated with a baby doll that had Mbappe’s face on it – an act that caused FFF president Noel Le Graet to complain to the AFA.
Why is Messi letting Martinez mock & humiliate Mbappe like this? They’re teammates at PSG, just so weird & graceless. pic.twitter.com/btx0KDbs2J
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 21, 2022ADVERTISEMENT
“We have launched different procedures. It is very shocking,” Le Graet explained in an interview with Ouest-France.
“These are boys who have given the best of themselves for the France team to succeed. It is important that we support them.
“I wrote to my counterpart from the Argentine Football Association.
“I find these excesses abnormal in the context of a sports competition, and I find it difficult to understand. It goes too far. Mbappe’s behavior was exemplary,” Le Graet further claimed.
Among other critics of Martinez’s conduct was TV personality Piers Morgan, who also used the opportunity to question the scruples of Argentina captain Lionel Messi.
“Why is Messi letting Martinez mock and humiliate Mbappe like this?” Morgan asked.
“They’re teammates at PSG, [it’s] just so weird and graceless.”
Both Morgan and Le Graet have overlooked Martinez going out of his way to console Mbappe after his country lost, and have also not mentioned the context of why South Americans have taken issue with the 24-year-old.
Earlier this year in an interview with TNT Sports Brazil, Mbappe claimed that South Americans were less prepared for the World Cup than their European counterparts, who play more “high-level matches.”
“He never played in South America. When you don’t have this experience, it may be better not to talk about it. But it doesn’t matter. We are a great team, recognized as such,” Martinez fired back.
Le Graet also gave his thoughts on Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, who missed the tournament through a thigh injury, then seemed to announce his international retirement on his 35th birthday on Monday.
“He probably intends to focus 100% on his club after having several small injuries,” Le Graet remarked.
Regarding reports that France would fly Benzema in for the final, Le Graet said: “To my knowledge, he returned to training very recently, in no case could he have played.”
“The staff did the right thing, they wanted him to leave very quickly to see his doctors in Madrid,” Le Graet concluded.
December 23, 2022 at 05:08PM