In May, Kylian Mbappé had said that the European teams have an advantage over Argentina and Brazil as “soccer in South America is not as advanced as it is in Europe”.
A day before the World Cup final, Argentine goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez has said that Mbappé should not comment on things he does not understand.
“He doesn’t know enough about football. He never played in South America. If you don’t have this experience, maybe it’s better not to talk about it… But it doesn’t matter. We are a great team, who are treated as such recognized,” Martinez told reporters in Qatar.
Mbappé said this in May to the Brazilian television channel TNT Sports.
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“The advantage we have in Europe is that we play against each other all the time with high-level competitions, such as the League of Nations. When we arrive at the World Cup we are ready, where Brazil and Argentina do not have this level in South America. Football is not as advanced as in Europe. That is why at the last World Cups it is always the Europeans who win.”
Messi did respond to Mbappé’s comment about South American football. “We talked about that a lot in Spain,” Messi said in an interview with TyC Sports. “When we came back from a qualifying match, we said to them, ‘You don’t know how difficult it would be for you to qualify for the World Cup if you had to go there, at a high altitude, in the heat, in Venezuela.’
So is the Brazilian coach Tite. “Could be [Mbappe] talks about these Nations League clashes or European friendlies, but not World Cup qualifiers,” Tite said.
There was also an incident on the pitch in August between Messi and Mbappe, both teammates at the PSG club, that had sparked outrage for a while.
In August, in a 5–2 win for PSG over Montpellier, Mbappe gave up a counter-attack after failing to receive a cross from Messi. A short time later he would shove Messi with his shoulder – Messi would have an expression of shock on his face.
Former England footballer Wayne Rooney was horrified. “A 23-year-old player is committed to pushing Messi, I’ve never seen a bigger ego in my life. Someone should remind Mbappé that when Messi was 23, he had already won four Ballon d’Ors.”
Things seemed to return to normal in PSG’s next game with a cross from Messi and Mbappé scoring a goal – and he would point his finger at Messi and walk over in jubilation.