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'There wasn't another option' - Valverde apologises to Morata following cynical red card in Supercopa final

12:58 SAST 2020/01/13
Federico Valverde Real Madrid 2019-20
The midfielder admitted wrongdoing after being named man of the match in Real Madrid's dramatic showpiece victory over Atletico

Federico Valverde was named the MVP of the Supercopa de Espana final despite a cynical extra-time red card that prompted the Real Madrid midfielder to apologise to Alvaro Morata.

Ten-man Real beat city rivals Atletico Madrid on penalties after a goalless draw in Saudi Arabia.

But former Madrid star Morata might have proven the hero for Atleti in the 115th minute had Valverde not taken drastic action, chopping down the striker from behind as he bore down on goal.

Atleti reacted furiously to the challenge, and their mood was not improved when Thibaut Courtois made a crucial save from Thomas Partey in the shoot-out.

Madrid ended up winning 4-1 on penalties, and Valverde was then pronounced the man of the match, despite his premature exit from the game. 

When facing the media, the Uruguayan offered an apology to Morata, but insisted that he had no choice but to act with the game balanced on a knife-edge. 

"I apologise to Alvaro Morata," he said. "I know it's not good what I did, but I didn't have any other option."

Valverde has consistently impressed this season and added of his breakout campaign: "I'm very happy. It's something you train for, you work for, you fight for, to have good results.

"Things are working out well. I'm getting minutes on the pitch, playing, the team is winning. It's fantastic. I'm enjoying every minute of my life, an amazing time.

"As well as winning titles with the team, I am also going to become a father. So many positive things are happening and I'm trying my best to enjoy them."

Madrid president Florentino Perez described head coach Zinedine Zidane as "a blessing from heaven" after the Supercopa triumph , which took the Frenchman's record to nine final wins out of nine in charge at Santiago Bernabeu.

The Blancos will now turn their attention back to La Liga, with a home fixture against Sevilla scheduled on Saturday.

Barcelona are top of the table ahead of Madrid on goal difference after 19 fixtures, but they are still searching for their first win of 2020.