Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde has told ESPN the incident that damaged the team bus ahead of their Champions League quarterfinal return leg against Liverpool further motivated him “to give his all” in Wednesday’s game.
Los Blancos held Liverpool to a goalless draw to progress to the semifinals with a 3-1 aggregate win.
An investigation was launched by Merseyside police after the bus carrying Madrid’s team to Anfield stadium before the encounter was hit by a number of items thrown by fans. According to police, the outer pane of the lead bus window was damaged, but the glass did not break and there were no reported injuries.
Asked about the incident after the game, and reminded of his background, having played for Uruguayan side Penarol, Valverde said: “I come from there and it’s normal. It’s OK.
“It gives you that extra [motivation] to say that I’m going to go out there on the pitch with a killer instinct and give my all.”
The Uruguay international played the entire game with a swollen ankle. Valverde, who was employed in the right-back position because of Lucas Vazquez‘s injury, had been struggling with a knock on his ankle sustained during Saturday’s 2-1 win over Barcelona in the Clasico. He received painkilling injections in order to be available from the start against Liverpool on Wednesday.
Valverde went above and beyond the call of duty, according to his girlfriend, Argentinian journalist Mina Bonino. She posted a photograph on social media which showed Valverde’s red and swollen ankle hours before the game at Anfield and wrote: “This was this afternoon [Wednesday].
“I did not want to put anything up until the game was over and surely later you will challenge me for publishing it, but I must do it the same because it is your effort, and nobody gave you anything.
“Day-after-day injecting yourself to be firm and today you fulfilled more than ever. You are our pride.”