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'He did what he had to do' – Simeone backs Valverde following game-saving red card

The Uruguay international was sent off with five minutes to go, but his intervention kept the game goalless before Real went on to win on penalties

Diego Simeone has said that Fede Valverde did the right thing in fouling Alvaro Morata when the striker was clean through on goal in the Spanish Super Cup final between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.

Valverde’s intervention, with just five extra-time minutes remaining, saw him dismissed but kept the game scoreless.

Real went on to win in a penalty shootout, and Valverde was awarded the man of the match award, which Simeone said was justified.

“I think the award for the best player makes perfect sense because Valverde won the game with that action,” he told a press conference.

“It was the most important play of the game. If the play continued, it was possibly a goal. I told him not to worry, that he did what he had to do. We will see how many days they give him.”

For his part, a sheepish Valverde said he was disappointed to be dismissed and expose his team-mates to a man disadvantage.

He acknowledged Simeone’s comments as well, paying homage to the former Argentina international.

“My colleagues have supported me. It was sad. If I showed it (MVP award) to everyone it would be uncomfortable. I held it,” the 21-year-old told the media.

“I was very angry that I left the team with one less. But they supported me, which is something very nice.

“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 Madrid chairman Florentino Perez conceded that Valverde had stopped an opportunity for Morata, but said it was uncertain what would have happened next.

“It is not known what would have happened,” Perez told Movistar Plus after the match, “but he prevented a clear chance for Morata in front of the goalkeeper, who could have stopped it.

“Many things could have happened. But it allowed us to tie, go to the penalties and win the Cup”

He also expressed his sympathy for Atletico president Enrique Cerezo, saying he had behaved admirably in tough circumstances.

“Cerezo behaved like what he is, like a gentleman,” the 72-year-old added. “He is a great friend.

“My solidarity with him when he has lost, because in the penalties there is a lot of luck, and this time it fell from our side”

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