Antonio Conte backs Hugo Lloris to have advantage over World Cup final rival Emi Martinez

Battle lines redrawn: Lloris and Martinez met in the World Cup final earlier this month  (AFP via Getty Images)
Battle lines redrawn: Lloris and Martinez met in the World Cup final earlier this month (AFP via Getty Images)

Antonio Conte believes Hugo Lloris has the edge over Emiliano Martinez in the battle of the World Cup-winning goalkeepers.

Lloris will come face to face again with Martinez on New Year’s Day, when Tottenham host Aston Villa in the Premier League.

Martinez’s penalty heroics sealed Argentina’s 4-2 shoot-out win over Lloris’ France in the World Cup final in Qatar.

Lloris and France could not add the 2022 crown to their 2018 triumph in Russia, but Conte believes the 36-year-old’s career and quality always speaks for itself.

In any ranking between Villa’s Martinez and Lloris, Conte insisted the France and Spurs stalwart still gets the nod.

"We are talking about two important goalkeepers, and Martinez is younger than Hugo,” said Conte.

“I think Martinez played a really good World Cup, and he made important saves. He’s a player that can continue to grow but he’s a very good keeper.

“But in Hugo, we are talking about a champion in his role, his career speaks very clearly, and he won the World Cup.

“On Sunday I think the expectation would be to see both players play the game.

“Hugo’s career speaks very clearly: we are talking about one of the best keepers in the world in the last 10 years.

“I can tell you only this, we would lose a lot of time in speaking about Hugo, a top goalkeeper and a top man especially. I think he will continue to play for many years.”

Martinez has drawn criticism for his antics at the World Cup, including gamesmanship in the decisive penalty shoot-out against France and for later mocking the likes of Kylian Mbappe.

A diplomatic Conte refused to be drawn on the Villa star’s character however, stopping short of commenting on rival players’ conduct.

“I have to be honest I don’t like to speak about the players of other teams,” said Conte.

“I don’t like this, because I like to respect, and we’re not talking about my player. I can talk to you only about technical aspects.”

Lloris was back on Spurs’ bench for the 2-2 Boxing Day draw at Brentford, but is now ready to step back into the starting line-up.

Conte hailed the vastly experienced stopper for showing absolutely no World Cup hangover.

“For sure when you lose a World Cup final, your feeling is not so good,” said Conte.

“But for Hugo, it was really good for him to put the disappointment to one side, then to come back in a fantastic way, and I see him totally involved from the first day with us.

“I asked him to come back early, to stay with us for the game against Brentford even though he was on the bench.

“He’s a very important figure for us in the dressing room, for the whole environment at Tottenham. Now he’s ready again, he’s had three good training sessions.”