The Uruguayan’s challenge on Alvaro Morata in the closing minutes of extra-time, in which he sacrificed himself to ensure the Atleti striker didn’t score, was a moment that will go down in the club’s history.
Morata was halted in his tracks, the game went to penalties and Real Madrid went on to win the shootout.
Valverde’s actions even earned praise from Atletico manager Diego Simeone.
“The award for the best player had to do with that piece of play,” the Argentine said, per BBC Sport.
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“Valverde won the final; it was the most important piece of play. It was probably going to be a goal. I told him that he did what he had to do at that moment.”
‘If Valverde didn’t foul Morata’
Yet a clip of Morata during his Chelsea days suggests that maybe there was no need for Valverde to hack him down.
The Spaniard missed a 1v1 opportunity to score at the Emirates Stadium in January 2018.
And his miss has re-emerged on Twitter with the caption: “If Valverde didn’t foul Morata”.
So cruel. But also very funny.
So perhaps there was no need for Valverde to take Morata down after all.
His challenge had similarities to Luis Suarez’s handball on the line while playing for Uruguay against Ghana at the 2010 World Cup.
There was also Cristiano Ronaldo winking after managing to get then-Manchester United teammate Wayne Rooney sent off at the 2006 World Cup.
Of course, we all love to see football played in the right spirit.
But can you really criticise Valverde for preventing a clear goalscoring opportunity in the closing minutes of a final.
It was a challenge that Zinedine Zidane would have wanted him to make, and, despite the red card, it paid off.