Legendary Argentina goalie Emi “el Dibu” Martínez didn’t repeat his infamous World Cup Golden Glove gesture at FIFA’s The Best awards in Paris on Monday because he was busy trying not to cry, he told interviewers at sports channel TyC.
“It was a different event, wearing a suit… no, no,” he said with a bashful grin. “Maybe on a football pitch, with the adrenaline pumping, I would, but there, my only mission was not to cry.”
Martínez was emotional at the ceremony in Paris on Monday night as he told the audience that his heroes were his parents. His mother, he said, had cleaned buildings for “eight, nine hours a day” to support her family as he was growing up.
He moved to London at the age of 16, where he learned flawless English and is married with two children.
El Dibu, the Mar del Plata-born Aston Villa goalkeeper, became a national hero thanks to his dazzling saves during the World Cup, which earned him the Golden Glove award at the end of the tournament. But his reaction became the stuff of memes.
Up on the podium, with the eyes of the world — and several Qatari dignitaries — watching, he took the prestigious trophy and held it to his groin.
The gesture prompted an explosion of memes, jokes and WhatsApp stickers, as well as soul-searching among media commentators about vulgarity and whether the gesture could be considered sexist.
The uproar prompted some to ask whether the audience of FIFA’s The Best awards might be in for a repeat performance in Paris — but it wasn’t to be.
Dibu’s infamous Golden Glove gesture wasn’t the first time he’d put a prize on his penis. He first did the gesture after Argentina’s 2021 Copa América victory. He said he’d made the gesture after the World Cup because his teammates were betting him that he wouldn’t do it again.
“Well, I’m not proud of that, eh, but it was a bet that right when they were going to give me the Golden Glove, that I wasn’t going to do the same as the Copa América, the lads said… it’s their fault!”