Lionel Messi should have defended Kylian Mbappe from Emiliano Martinez World Cup final mocking, UEFA president says

Dibu Martinez Mbappe Messi Argentina 20 12 2022
Argentina star Lionel Messi should have stood up for Kylian Mbappe after Emi Martinez's Word Cup final celebrations, UEFA's boss claimed.
  • Martinez World Cup celebrations met with anger
  • Messi has since praised Mbappe's final performance
  • Cerefin dubbed Martinez "primitive"

WHAT HAPPENED? Martinez made headlines for his raucous post-World Cup final celebrations, including one gesture that took aim at Messi's PSG teammate Mbappe. And although Messi distanced himself from Martinez's taunts - and has since praised Mbappe for his hat-trick in the final - UEFA president Aleksander Cerefin thinks Messi should have done more.

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WHAT THEY SAID: "I don't understand why Dibu mocked Mbappe. Messi should've told him to show respect," Cerefin said in an interview with Mundo Deportivo. "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."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Mbappe and Messi have played together at PSG for nearly two years, regularly leading the line for the Parisians. The French forward turned in one of the best performances in World Cup final history, bagging a hat-trick and also converting his penalty in the game-deciding shootout.


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Lionel Messi and Emi Martinez of Argentina after the 2022 World Cup final

Messi Martinez Mbappe GFX

20230330 PSG Neymar Mbappe Messi

WHAT NEXT? Mbappe and Messi will take the pitch Saturday for PSG as they face Nice. A win would establish breathing room between the reigning Ligue 1 champs and second-placed Lens, who they currently lead by three points.