Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez has said he regrets making a vulgar gesture at the World Cup final but placed the blame on his teammates.
After being handed the “Golden Glove” for being the best goalkeeper at the 2022 World Cup, Martinez was captured on camera holding the award near his crotch and making a face.
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Martinez was criticised for the action, including by his own manager at Aston Villa.
Martinez, who saved one penalty in the shootout to help Argentina beat France in the World Cup final, told TYC Sports: “I’m not proud of that, obviously, but it was a bet.
“Just when they were going to give me the Golden Glove, the boys [Argentina teammates] said, ‘why don’t you do the same as in the Copa America?’ and I would say, ‘What if I do?’ and they would reply ‘What if you don’t!’ It’s my teammates’ fault.”
Martinez had already made a similar gesture after a 1-0 win over bitter rivals Brazil at the Maracana stadium in July 2021 that gave Argentina the Copa America.
“I had done it at the Copa America because of what had happened,” he said, referencing the hostile atmosphere in Brazil.
Martinez, 30, accepted the award for The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper on Monday in a ceremony in Paris and made no offensive gestures.