Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone says nothing will ever make up for the two Champions League final defeats he has suffered against Real Madrid.
Simeone’s side were beaten on penalties after a 1-1 draw at the end of extra time in May’s showpiece at San Siro, with Cristiano Ronaldo converting the decisive spot-kick after Juanfran had hit the post.
It marked Atleti’s second defeat in three finals against their city rivals, after they were beaten 4-1 after extra time in Lisbon in 2014 following Sergio Ramos’ equaliser in second-half injury time.
Simeone said after this year’s disappointment that he would have to “go away and think”, prompting speculation that he could quit the Vicente Calderon after close to five years in charge.
But while he insists that he never gave any indication that he was intending to leave, the former Argentina international admits it has been tough to find motivation again following Atleti’s latest defeat.
“When I said I had to think, I was talking about the way to keep going with Atletico Madrid. I couldn’t have left peacefully,” he told Movistar +.
“I never said I was leaving. I said I needed to think and thinking can be about a mass of different things. For example, the energy with which I’ve had to present myself to the same group of boys for four and a half years.
“I want to drive them to demand the maximum of themselves and compete again after losing two finals, and that’s not easy.
“People are afraid to use the word ‘failure’, but it’s synonymous with not reaching your goal. It’s possibly a strong word, but it’s the reality of what I felt.
“To reach a final for a second time, with the effort of a huge number of people and a lot of work, and to lose for a second time, was a very hard blow.
“When they say that defeats are water under the bridge, it’s a lie. That’s not happened to me. Losing those two finals will stay with me for life. No other final will make up for those two defeats.
“Life does not give easy battles to the best warriors, and I consider myself a warrior.”