Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez has insisted he never disrespected Everton’s Yerry Mina and just took advantage of his ‘shyness’.
The Premier League pair clashed last year when their countries, Argentina and Colombia, faced each other in the Copa America semi-finals.
In the run in to the game, there had been plenty of the usual needling, something Mina, a flamboyant character, to say the least, was a big part of.
Martinez had his revenge when the two went face to face in the penalty shootout of that semi-final, with Everton’s Mina stepping up to take one of the spot-kicks.
In the run-up, the Aston Villa number one was heard to be playing mind games with the defender, telling him, “I’m eating you up”, among things.
The mind games clearly worked as Mina’s spot-kick was saved, prompting wild celebrations from Martinez and the rest of his Argentina teammates.
The Aston Villa star has since apologised to Mina, sending him a letter after the incident to admit his actions were out of line.
However, he insists that what he did was not disrespectful, and simply him taking advantage of the Everton man’s nerves.
“I never disrespected anyone, nor am I going to insult any player or family,” Marca report him saying to DirecTV Sports.
“It was what came out at the time because I felt shyness in the rival, and I used it to take my country to a final. But this doesn’t mean I’m going to say it all the time.
“If we go to penalties (in future), I won’t be saying ‘look, I’ll eat you.’”