Atletico Madrid lost to Real Madrid in the Champions League final for the second time in three years this Sunday, falling 5-3 on penalty kicks.
After losing the 2014 final in extra-time, Atleti forced a shootout this time around, although Juanfran‘s miss allowed Cristiano Ronaldo to score the game-winning penalty for Real.
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Juanfran, whose shot beat Keylor Navas but hit the post, had scored the game-winning penalty against PSV Eindhoven to advance to the quarterfinal.
The only player to miss his penalty in the final, the veteran right-back penned an emotional letter thanking Atleti fans for their support, which was posted to the club’s website.
I have asked the club to address all of you with this letter to tell you everything I feel.
I will never forget your displays of affection when I came to ask for your forgiveness. Seeing my tears reflected in the faces of the thousands of Atléticos that packed that end of the stadium helped me cope with the tremendous sadness I felt in those hard times. As well as the support of my teammates, coaches, and all the people that makes this big family.
I also want to thank you for always believing in us and, above all, for proving that being an Atlético is something very special, different, and that our heart beats stronger than any other.
Two years ago, I told you that we would return to a final, now, I tell you that Gabi, our captain, will lift the Champions League sooner or later, and we will celebrate it all together in Neptuno.
Despite starting his career with Real Madrid, Juanfran is adored by Atleti supporters, having made more than 250 appearances for the club since joining in 2010. Having played the full 120 minutes in the 2014 final loss as well, this result was crushing for the defender.
Juanfran still believes Atleti will be back, and they’ve proven over the past few seasons that they are one of the elite clubs in Europe. If the club can hold on to the likes of Juanfran and their world-class backline, he may have a third shot to win the Champions League.