MADRID – Atletico Madrid’s Argentine coach Diego Simeone said on Saturday he regretted the way he celebrated his team’s first goal scored in the Spanish side’s 2-0 win over Juventus in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16.
Uruguay central defender Jose Gimenez opened the scoring against the Italian team in the 78th minute, to which Simeone reacted by grapping his crotch.
“Before starting, you know I never search for excuses,” Simeone said at a press conference on the eve of a home La Liga clash against Villarreal. “I want to apologize once again, like I did after the game to the people who were offended.”
“It was obviously an expression, a bad expression, of what I felt for my players. I say this in order to close the subject before you ask me what I think about it,” Simeone said.
Asked about the five-finger gesture Juventus and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo did during the game, hinting at his five UEFA Champions League titles, Simeone said: “I understand it all, because I am part of this. I understand everything that could happen.”
Ronaldo won the Champions League title once with Manchester United in 2007/2008, and four times with Real Madrid in the 2013/2014 season and then three consecutive titles from 2016-2018, before joining the Italian side during the summer transfer window on a surprise move.
Atletico, meanwhile, was unable to hoist the title of Europe’s elite club tournament, despite reaching the final three times, including twice under Simeone.
Atletico lost in the 2013/2014 and 2015/2016 Champions League finals against Madrid, which was led then by Ronaldo.
Simeone brushed aside talks about the imminent transfer of Uruguay center defender Diego Godin to the Serie A side Inter.
The Argentine coach’s remarks come a few days after Inter’s chief executive Giuseppe Marotta was cited as saying “We are very advanced in our negotiations and it was good to see him score against Juventus but I won’t speak about the rest.”
Simeone declined to comment: “I cannot say anything because it is an opinion or remarks by Marotta. In the due time if Godin or Atletico have something to say, they will inform you.”