Juanfran reveals what his son said to him after Champions League final penalty miss
Atletico Madrid once again came within touching distance of the hallowed trophy.11:40 Tuesday 20 September 2016, 11:40 20 Sep 2016
Between missing a penalty in the Champions League final and then falling just short in the league, Juanfran has had a difficult few months with Atlético Madrid.
The image of the dedicated and dependable player standing before the travelling fans in tears has since become iconic, as they chanted his name and attempted to convey to him that their admiration for his efforts and ability was not going to be altered by the missed spot kick.
Speaking on Spanish radio station Cadena Ser on Monday night, Juanfran spoke about the miss, and how he felt about it as he tried to come to terms with losing another Champions League final to their local rivals, Real Madrid.
"Aside from all my positive messages, it hurt me to lose as much as it hurt Simeone," said the defender.
"I've said since that we'll get to another one, or that missing that penalty has made me stronger on every level, personally as much as it has professionally. The fact that I've said all that doesn't mean that it doesn't still hurt me.
Referencing the comments from manager Diego Simeone that losing the final was like a death for him, Juanfran stated "if it was like a death for the míster, can you imagine what it was for me?"
"I missed the penalty that ended it all. I saw how my son was in the dressing room afterwards. When I was with him I was broken, and he said 'don't worry about it, it will be fine.' My son is fantastic."
There is a chance to start making up for some of the problems that the team had last year with a huge game against Barcelona on Wednesday night in the Camp Nou, and Juanfran noted that the whole team had their sights set on victory as they prepare for another close title race.
"It's a match that everyone is looking forward to, of course, it's Barcelona. Last year we weren't able to beat them in either of the two La Liga games that we had, which would have given us a better chance of winning the title right up to the last day."
When it came to the well-worn topic of whether Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi was the best player in the world, Juanfran revealed that the Atlético players don't pay too much attention to that conversation, as they believe that they already have the world's best player: Antoine Griezmann.
Asked if he thought the Frenchman had done enough to win the Ballon d'Or, he replied: "Yes, of course. Looking at the season that Griezmann had last year and is having now, he's the best in Europe."
With a new manager in charge of the national side, Juanfran was one of the players who was left out of the latest squad for international duty, and clarified that there had been no falling out with Julen Lopetegui as a result.
Denying that he was annoyed that he hadn't gotten a call to break the news rather than hearing it in a press conference, he reaffirmed that he was always ready to return if he was called on again.
"I only have two teams in my life: Atleti and the national team. The national team can have me for whatever they need - to go, to play just one minute, for a friendly in Australia...whatever.
"I think Lopetegui knows that, but it's up to me too. He said in the press conference that every player is in charge of their own desinty, and my destiny, I think, is to return to the national team. But to get there I have to be the best right back in Spain, and the best at Atléti, clearly."
Having won league titles with his club and been part of an extraordinary era in their history, he has formed a unique bond with the team and the supporters, and stated that he hopes he can see out his days at the Vicente Calderón stadium.
"Playing for Atléti been the most special experience of my life," said Juanfran. "I've played elsewhere and felt a connection with other clubs, but with Atleti it's something that comes from deep inside me.
"I hope that when I finish my career, people remember that I gave everything for Atléeti. Real Madrid? I wouldn't go there, but I also wouldn't want to go to any other team. I hope they renew my contract and I can retire at Atlético."
The very best bits delivered every weekSubscribe now