Martinez caused disturbance to millions of viewers after the final, with a vulgar gesture when he was awarded the Golden Glove trophy.
Argentinian goalkeeper and World Cup winner Emiliano Martinez was benched by Aston Villa coach Unai Emery in their clash against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
The 30-year-old goalkeeper was an important part of Argentina’s World Cup success, winning the golden glove and appearing in two penalty shootouts, but there were questions about whether he would remain Villa’s first-choice goalkeeper following World Cup controversies.
The goalkeeper took aim at Kylian Mbappe after his team beat France on penalties following a dramatic 3-3 draw during the World Cup final.
Martinez called for “a moment’s silence” for Mbappe during dressing room celebrations after the game concluded at Lusail Stadium in Qatar, before doing the same thing upon the team’s return to Argentina during a victory parade.
He also caused disturbance to millions of viewers after the final, with a vulgar gesture when he was awarded the Golden Glove trophy.
However, coach Emery has insisted Martinez is still Aston Villa’ number one despite making the Argentina keeper wait for his return.
Instead of Martinez, the coach put his faith in Swedish keeper Robin Olsen, who had a shaky time against Liverpool in Villa’s Boxing Day clash.
Olsen started for Villa against Tottenham, while Martinez, who only returned to training on Friday, was on the bench.
“Emi is very important and he is the number one. Robin knows his role and he’s very positive as a person. Matches like today, when we need his performance knowing he achieved it,” coach Emery said, explaining his decision to bench Martinez.
“This was our plan. We prepared first Emi to rest for some days after the World Cup, and with Robin, we are working and trying to give him confidence, and the confidence is when you can show on the pitch and play matches like today.
“He deserved this clean sheet. His performance was amazing. Emi will train tomorrow and Tuesday and closer to playing with us but after today, we can believe in Robin Olsen.”
Villa’s New Year’s Day victory moves them up to 12th in the Premier League, eight points clear of the knockout stages.
Martinez is expected to play a key role moving forward but there are doubts over whether Martinez would continue as Villa’s first-choice goalkeeper due to the World Cup controversy and a rumoured spat between him and coach Emery.
Martinez struggled to get a game under Emery during their time together at Arsenal, and the Villa manager’s pre-match comments raised even more questions. “Hopefully, he is coming 100 percent focused on Aston Villa,” Emery said of the goalkeeper on Friday.
Fichajes.net, which deals with football transfer market, had previously reported that Emery was ‘desperate’ to sell Martinez and he may be up for sale in the January transfer window.
Martinez has won three trophies for Argentina, including the Copa America and World Cup.
If Martinez fails to retain his number one spot at Villa, a number of top European clubs will be interested in signing him.
“I believe he is the best goalkeeper in the world,” Gabby Agbonlahor said the day after Christmas. “With Argentina, he won the World Cup, an outstanding performance.”
The Qatar World Cup was the third title for Argentina, having won the other two titles in 1978 and 1986 under the late legend Diego Maradona.