If you consider yourself a football romantic, this might not be for you.
Federico Valverde indirectly won Real Madrid the Spanish Super Cup after wiping out Alvaro Morata, who looked certain to win the Madrid derby in extra-time after being put through on goal.
Cynical? Yes. Unglamorous? You bet… but Valverde’s red card may have just immortalised himself to the notoriously hard-to-please Real Madrid fans.
Valverde, who unceremoniously hacked Morata down in the final five minutes, has become a cult hero overnight after his antics saw his side win the Super Cup on penalties.
The youngster has been praised all year for his work in the middle of the park with many seeing him as the long-term replacement for Luka Modric.
But no through ball, no goal and no *clean* tackle could have propelled him to stardom as much as his hatchet job last night did.
After the game the midfielder said he had apologised to Morata but asked, “What else was I meant to do?” A fair question.
It is the ultimate sacrifice; getting yourself sent off and suspended to not just win a game, but a trophy against your most bitter rivals.
He did what almost any professional would do, just ask Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – football’s nice man – who did the exact same against Newcastle back in 1998… and received a standing ovation.
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Valverde ended up winning the Man of the Match award, whether his 91% pass accuracy or darting runs from midfield had anything to do with it – we will never know.
But it is not often a player gets a red card and goes on to be Man of the Match, in fact, it’s surely a first.
It’s clear the Uruguayan has been studying at the school of Sergio Ramos, who would have loved every second of the challenge and the aftermath.
If the 21-year-old’s footballing IQ was a little higher he might have realised that the former Chelsea man is not the most clinical from a one-on-one situation…
Better safe than sorry I suppose.
In the modern sugar-coated game, Valverde’s challenge was a throwback to the short-shorts leather ball era.
He was not out to hurt the player, just to do what he could to help win the Cup for his side.
Not since Luis Suarez in the 2010 World Cup have we seen such levels of dastardliness on a football pitch.
So from everyone here at Dream Team, we just wanted to say – well played, Frederico. Very well played.
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