Martinez, Mbappé…: does chambering have its limits in football?

During the jubilant scenes in Buenos Aires after the world title, several Argentines, including players, directly attacked the French striker.

By Adrian Mathieu

Emiliano Martinez enlivened Argentina’s celebrations by directly attacking Kylian Mbappé.
© AYMAN AREF / NurPhoto / NurPhoto via AFP

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VERSUSThese are images that have had a strong reaction on social media, especially in France. Celebrated in Argentina as a hero after his success in the 2022 World Cup final against France, some players still had Kylian Mbappé in the lead. During the long parade on the Albiceleste double-decker bus, goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez exhibited in particular a doll with the taped face of the French forward. The Argentine goalkeeper then mimicked an obscene scene, just as he was celebrating his country’s third star.

So where to place the slider of the correct bore? For the philosopher of sport and speaker in RMC After, Thibaud Leplat, it is first of all essential to distinguish between the different Argentine acts performed during this collective celebration in Buenos Aires. “We have to distinguish between camaraderie, insult and insult. What’s special about the chambering? It comes from the roommate we come to make fun of, it’s meant for people like that. We are in a form of friendly hazing, this is how changing rooms are built. On the contrary, the insult is not intended to create a dialogue: it is verbal aggression, the insult is a violation of the law,” he says at the Point.

If he has been the victim of Kylian Mbappé four times in the final, seeing the Aston Villa goalkeeper worry so much about an opponent on a World Cup holiday is a challenge. For Thibaud Leplat it is a form of homage. “The Argentines welcome Mbappé into the world of adults, that of Maradona and Messi. The Argentines didn’t focus on Griezmann or Zidane and Cantona first. Being Messi at the end, Mbappé is a threat for the future. He managed to win a game by himself and the Argentines now fear him even more. »

Uses and customs of sport

Cristiano Ronaldo asking the Camp Nou to calm down, Nabil Fékir showing his shirt to the Saint-Étienne fans or even Emmanuel Adebayor who runs the whole pitch just to celebrate in front of the Arsenal fans: football is used to this kind of camaraderie , nominated “trash talk” in the United States by NBA fans. Nothing to worry about then? “It’s like Achilles triumphing over Hector, explains Thibaud Leplat. It is a way for Emiliano Martinez to reach Kylian Mbappé. He implicitly acknowledges his superiority, yet he need not be ashamed of his performance in the final. He wins Argentina with this decisive save on Kolo Muani then deflecting Coman’s shot on goal. Why then go after Mbappé? The victim turns his wounds against himself. »

But it’s not just the Martinez doll that is causing a stir in France. In the crowd gathered along the route of the Argentine bus, we could see a coffin with a photo of Mbappé burning or a mannequin imitating his corpse. Added to this are many offensive and racist songs. “It is a gross stupidity of a crowd that benefits from anonymity, indicates Thibaud Leplat. Football and its fans are inspired by the folklore of war, we play with the trophies of our victory, we repeat the history of civilization. On another scale it Napoleon did too, it is part of the uses and customs of sport. »

The “seum” of the Belgians

In the room, the Azzurri didn’t stay out. Belgium is very often entitled to its “seum”, to shore up its reputation as a bad loser. “We also had our moments of tension with the Belgians or the Italians, insists Thibaud Leplat. Worse, in 1982, the Germans were compared in the press with the SS after the defeat of Seville in the semifinals of the World Cup – he is much more insidious than a doll. And even Argentina had not escaped him during the triumph of the Blues in 2018, with a song that mixed N’Golo Kanté and Lionel Messi, pronounced in particular on the steps of the Elysée by Pogba and his family.

So how can Kylian Mbappé respond to these provocations and insults from Argentina? In any case, there is no respite for the 24-year-old striker: he has already returned to training with Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday, just three days before the end of the World Cup in Qatar. Excellent response according to Thibaud Leplat: “I don’t know if he was made consciously compared to Martinez, but it’s an intelligent message. Either we respond verbally, but we have to assume it, or we do it on another level, with field performances. Get down, he swallows the poison and gets back to work. »

READ ALSOFrance-Argentina: better to lose good or win bad?

The possible reunion between Emiliano Martinez and Kylian Mbappé could also happen much earlier than expected. Bayern Munich, future opponent of PSG in 8And Champions League final, look for a goalkeeper after Manuel Neuer’s big injury. The Bavarian leaders would have ticked the name of the 30-year-old goalkeeper for this winter… Fate would necessarily be a joke.

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