UEFA president criticizes Lionel Messi for failing to defend Kylian Mbappe against Emi Martinez’s taunt after World Cup victory

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has criticized Emiliano Martinez severely for taunting French superstar Kylian Mbappe, and Lionel Messi for failing to stop the taunt.

Emiliano Martinez and Lionel Messi performed exceptionally in Qatar as Argentina triumphed over France in a nail-biting World Cup final. Martinez successfully stopped Kingsley Coman’s penalty, which was decisive in the day’s result.


The Aston Villa goalkeeper performed exceptionally throughout the whole World Cup tournament. His excellence saw him win the golden gloves. However, as he got the trophy handed over during the award ceremony, the 30-year old made a weird gesture.

The weirdness didn’t stop there. Photos of Martinez celebrating with his team while holding a dummy featuring Mbappe’s face went viral, drawing widespread condemnation online. Ceferin criticized Dibu’s antics, saying, “I don’t understand why Dibu mocked Mbappe,” according to Mundo Deportivo. “Messi should’ve told him to show respect.”

Lionel Messi

He added, “If you see how he reacted during penalties… I can’t understand why he mocks Mbappe, the one with the puppet and things like that. That’s not sportsmanship, it was primitive and I didn’t like it.”

“That is not done. You won the World Cup! Show some greatness, show that you are not primitive. You can be a perfect goalkeeper, but if you are not a good person.”

Emiliano Martinez is a “penalty killer”

Martinez started his career at Independiente in Argentina before moving to England to join Arsenal in 2010.

During his time at Arsenal, Martinez spent much of his career on loan to various clubs, including Oxford United, Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham United, Wolves, Getafe, and Reading. He made his Premier League debut for Arsenal in 2017 and went on to make 38 appearances for the club.

Lionel Messi

In September 2020, Martinez joined Aston Villa for a reported fee of £20 million. In his first season with Aston Villa, he was a key player and helped the team to an 11th place finish in the Premier League. He also impressed for Argentina in their successful 2021 Copa America campaign.

Martinez is known as a penalty killer. He has stopped many crucial penalties during his career that have led to significant victories. His most notable penalty stops are:

  • Bruno Fernandes’ penalty (Manchester United vs Aston Villa, Premier League 2021-22)
  • Arturo Vidal’s penalty (Argentina vs Chile, Copa America 2021 )
  • Kingsley Coman’s penalty (Argentina vs France, World Cup 2022)
  • Yoshimar Yotun’s penalty (Argentina vs Peru, World Cup 2022 qualifiers)

Even though he can be very disrespectful to other players at times, there is no doubt he is one of the best goalkeepers in the current soccer era.

Tanzeem Rahman

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Tanzeem Rahman is a soccer writer and an editor at SportsZion. Tanzeem's love for the sport began by watching and admiring Cristiano Ronaldo in his early Manchester United days. Having graduated from Germany as an Electrical Engineer, Tanzeem has watched multiple high-profile games throughout Europe from the gallery. His knowledge and enthusiasm for the sport, as well as sublime english proficiency has been an asset to SportsKnot. Outside of his duty, Tanzeem is a gamer, and loves to spend time watching Anime and reading Manga.


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