There are disturbing images from the World Cup celebrations in Buenos Aires: some Argentinian fans cheer as a piece of cardboard shaped like a coffin lid, on which the face of French superstar Kylian Mbappés is depicted, bursts into flames. Another video shows an Argentinian fan holding up a doll completely wrapped in black foil with the inscription Mbappé on a pole, hooting.
It is above all these two videos that are shared on social networks. The fact that around five million other fans celebrated the World Cup triumph in Buenos Aries without any racist remarks is usually not mentioned in the posts.
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This is blatant racism on the part of Argentinian fans, according to many comments on the videos. In France in particular, the outrage is great – also because there had been racist hostilities against black French players online immediately after the Argentinian World Cup triumph.
FC Bayern striker Kingsley Coman and Aurélien Tchouaméni, who failed on penalties, were racially abused in the worst possible way. The situation was similar for the Frankfurt Bundesliga professional Randal Kolo Muani, who failed with a shot at Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez shortly before the end of injury time.
The French football federation condemned the “racist and hateful statements on social networks” and announced that it would “file a complaint against their authors”. French Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra spoke of “shameless” comments that had no place in football or anywhere else.
Criticism of goalkeeper Martinez
A video was also shown in French media in which Argentine fans in Qatar sang a song racially insulting French footballers and Mbappé in particular. “Disgusting acts that the Argentine players never reacted to,” said the French newspaper “Le Figaro”. “Since the Albiceleste’s return to Buenos Aires on Monday night, the taunts against the French striker have accelerated.” Above all, the Argentine goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was heavily criticized.
Martinez demanded “a minute’s silence for Mbappé” in the dressing room after the final and showed around a baby doll in diapers with the face of the French star at the victory parade in Buenos Aires, according to “Le Figaro”. And Lionel Messi just sat next to it.
However, the newspaper also pointed out that Mbappé’s criticism of South American football is now coming back “like a boomerang”. Mbappé said in an interview last May that football on the continent was “not as advanced as in Europe”. Argentina goalkeeper Martinez publicly criticized the Frenchman on the eve of the final: “He doesn’t know enough about football. He’s never played in South America. If you don’t have that experience, maybe it’s better not to talk about it.” After the penalty shootout, however, Martinez was one of the first to comfort the unfortunate Mbappé.
Messi t-shirt as a doormat
Media in South America also reported on the racist incidents at the victory celebrations in Buenos Aires, but also played the ball back to France. The Argentinian Internet portal “Infobae” showed French fans in Paris lighting an Argentinian flag. It was also reported about a pub in the French capital where a Paris St. Germain Messi T-shirt was stapled to the floor in the entrance. A plaque next to it said, “Remember to wipe your feet before entering.”
It’s about time Messi and Mbappe laced up together again at PSG. Maybe then things will calm down a bit – and the racist outbursts will stop.