Patrick Vieira says the abuse of Kylian Mbappe in Argentina’s World Cup celebrations has ‘damaged the game’.
Argentina enjoyed a win over France on penalties in last Sunday’s final in Qatar, with the South American side revelling in their glory – a bit too much for some people.
The antics of Argentina and Aston Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez has come under scrutiny in particular, especially after he was seen with a toy baby with Mbappe’s face on in the open-top bus parade in Buenos Aires.
The 30-year-old had previously mocked the France star directly after the final, when he called for a minute’s silence for the PSG forward while his team partied in the dressing room.
While Martinez is known for his use of the ‘dark arts’ during games, his behaviour since the final has been widely condemned, with a former World Cup winner labelling him: ‘The biggest s*** in world football’.
Vieira, who won the 1998 World Cup with France, claims all this has tainted Argentina’s triumph.
‘When you are talking about the abuse and the comments that he [Mbappe] received after the World Cup, I think that is damaging the game and himself,’ the Crystal Palace manager said in his pre-match press conference on Friday.
‘Some of the pictures that I saw from the Argentina goalkeeper took away a little bit from what Argentina achieved at the World Cup.
‘I don’t think that they really needed that. You can’t control sometimes people’s emotions or decisions, but that was a stupid decision from Martinez to do that.’
Mbappe, who put a hat-trick and his shootout penalty beyond Martinez in the final, also received a torrid of horrific abuse from some supporters in the stadium, as well as online.
‘I was really disappointed because I heard the same songs as you,’ Vieira added.
‘I want to have a picture of the Argentina fans with the passion and the love they showed during those games. Of course, they won the World Cup, but in the stands, they were the best as well.
‘I want to keep that in my mind and not think about those stupid fans who put some darkness on top of what Argentina achieved on and off the field. This is the dark side of the Argentina World Cup [win].’
On Friday, Villa head coach Unai Emery also said that he would have words with Martinez about his behaviour when he returns to the club.