Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone says he would have done exactly the same thing as Federico Valverde after the Real Madrid midfielder’s match-saving professional foul in the Spanish Super Cup.
The Uruguayan was shown a straight red card for hacking down Alvaro Morata as the striker burst clean through on goal deep into extra-time on Sunday night, with Real winning the penalty shootout that followed moments later.
Valverde sought out Morata after the game to say sorry for his foul, but Atletico boss Simeone feels there is no need for the Real midfielder to apologise.
‘I think the award for the best player makes perfect sense because Valverde won the game with that action,’ said Simeone at his post-match press conference.
‘It was the most important play of the game. If the play continued, it was possibly a goal.’
When Valverde left the pitch he was jeered by the crowd but got support from both his own manager, Zinedine Zidane, and Simeone as he walked past the dugout.
Simeone continued: ‘I told him not to worry, that he did what he had to do. We will see how many days [suspension] they give him.’
Valverde was grateful for Simeone’s support, saying: ‘I want to recognize Simeone, who also came over and said some words that I won’t say. But I want to highlight it because nobody does it.’
Real comfortably won the shootout 4-1, with Sergio Ramos scoring the cup-winning final penalty, and he too praised Valverde for taking one for the team.
Asked if he would have committed the tackle too, Ramos told reporters: ‘Yes, I think any player in our squad would have done it in that situation. It was a key move that had to be stopped.’
On his penalty, he added: ‘I always take the fourth penalty due to superstition, not because it had been calculated that I’d take the winning penalty.
‘I had planned on taking a Panenka penalty, but I didn’t have the ankle to do lots of little steps. My ankle is a bit f***ed. I was a bit scared and, as time passed, it seized up and hurt more. But once you’re in the game and know there’s so much to play for, you forget the pain.’