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Diego Simeone: Real Madrid ‘Were Better Than Us Again’

diego-simeone-ucl-finalDiego Simeone congratulated Real Madrid on a deserved victory but would not confirm if he would stay on as Atletico Madrid coach after a second crushing Champions League final defeat to Los Blancos in three years.

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos headed his team ahead as reward for their first-half dominance, Atletico attacker Antoine Griezmann missed a penalty soon after the break, but substitute Yannick Carrasco equalised late on to send the game to extra-time.

The extra 30 minutes brought no more goals, and after Atletico right-back Juanfran Torres missed from the spot, Cristiano Ronaldo converted Madrid’s fifth spot kick to confirm that Simeone’s side had lost out just as they had when beaten 4-1 in extra-time two years ago in Lisbon.

At his postgame news conference at Milan’s San Siro stadium, Simeone said he had no excuses or complaints about the result.

“First I want to congratulate Madrid — they were better than us again, this time in the penalty shootout,” Simeone said.

“We began the game badly, got better after about 25 minutes. We had a chance to equalise quickly in second half, but we did not do take advantage of it. They had a chance for 2-0, but we equalised almost immediately afterwards. Then the game became very tactical, very draining, and the two teams were pretty tired.

“Today was not meant to be for us. There is no such thing as justice in football. Whoever wins deserves to win. There are no excuses.”

Simeone said he could not fault the effort this players had put in during the game, only to come up short once more.

“I am proud of my players,” he said. “They made an extraordinary effort, in a very difficult Champions League for us. To go 1-0 down, miss a penalty, come back and equalise.

“I love these players a lot, they give the most they have in each ball — Gabi, Koke, Diego Godin, Filipe Luis, the effort they put in was tremendous. Griezmann came back after missing the penalty. I told them not to cry, out on the pitch after the game.”

Asked whether this defeat hurt more than two years ago, Simeone turned reflective and said he would now take time out to consider his situation.

“Nobody remembers the ones who finish second,” he said. “To lose two finals is a failure. It hurts more to see the fans who paid to come here, who travelled, who dreamed of us winning. We could not give them what they wanted. That hurts me more than anything else.

“We must now go home and tend to our wounds. It is too soon yet to talk about what went wrong for us tonight. It is a moment to think now, to reflect, and to spend time at home.”

Asked to confirm he would continue with Atletico, the Argentine did not answer directly.

“My plan is to think,” he replied. “That’s all.”

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