Despite a cynical foul that earned him an instant red card, Federico Valverde received praise from Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone and also got the Man of the Match award.
Atletico Madrid forward Alvaro Morata was racing towards the goal with only Thibaut Courtois to beat in the dying minutes of the Super Cup finals. But then Federico Valverde committed a deliberate foul with a brutal tackle from behind that denied local rivals Atletico a late scoring chance, and eventually cost them the trophy as Real Madrid won 4-1 on penalties.
With the score stuck at 0-0, the tackle on former Real Madrid forward Morata by the 21-year-old Valverde earned the Uruguyan an instant red card. Despite the ugly foul, Atletico’s coach had only words of commisseration for the Uruguayan midfielder walked off the pitch, and Valverde was also named Man of the Match for his performance.
What Atletico’s coach Diego Simeone said
While the tackle prompted demands of a statue of Vaverde from some Real Madrid fans, Atletico coach Diego Simeone also hailed the young midfielder and called the tackle ‘the most important moment of the match’.
“It was the most important moment of the match because if the play had continued it could possibly have led to a goal,” said Simeone, who consoled Valverde as he walked off the pitch following the red card.
“I told him not to worry anyone would have done what he did in his place, he did what he had to do,” the Argentine added.
Valverde says he apologised to Morata
Meanwhile, a ‘guilty’ Valverde apolosgised to Morata after the game. The midfielder said he had spoken to Morata after the game and felt some remorse for his actions.
“I apologised to Morata. What I did is not good but it was all I could do. I’m happy to win the trophy but I feel a small sense of regret for that,” he said. “My teammates and the coaches supported me and Simeone also came up to me, that’s not something everyone does.”
Zidane, who collected his 10th trophy as Los Blancos coach, said, “He did well, it was what he had to do and then he apologised to Morata. Fede won the prize and it belongs to him but it also belongs to everyone else in the team for the effort they made.”
Real scored all their spot-kicks to become the first side to win the Super Cup since it was turned into a four-team event and moved to Saudi Arabia.