Diego Simeone has defended Cristiano Ronaldo after he goaded Atletico Madrid’s supporters by using the Argentine’s ‘cojones’ celebration following Juventus’ 3-0 victory in the Champions League on Tuesday evening.
Juve were chasing a 2-0 defeat from the first leg in Spain but Ronaldo scored a hat-trick to secure their place in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Simone caused controversy in the first leg and was subsequently fined €20,000 (£17,000) after he turned to Atletico’s fans and grabbed his crotch during his celebrations at the Wanda Metropolitano.
And Ronaldo used the same celebration in Turin on Tuesday evening once Juve’s 3-0 victory was completed.
Ronaldo is likely to face similar punishment from UEFA but the 34-year-old has come under fire as his gesture was in front of Atletico’s fans.
But when asked about Ronaldo’s celebration after the match, Simeone replied: ‘Surely he was thinking about his people when he did it, like me at the Wanda, saying they have personality.’
Speaking about Ronaldo’s match-winning performance against Atletico, Simeone said: ‘Cristiano is one of the best in the world, it is normal that he can play how he has done tonight.’ Ronaldo scored the 52nd hat-trick of his career (EPA) Simeone also admitted that Juve fully deserved their victory in Turin.
‘They were better than us and we have to compliment them,’ said the Atletico boss. ‘We tried to play our game. ‘In the first half we played well, but in the second we didn’t manage to make anything to get us through.
‘Honestly, I’m calm and the players did well this week. ‘In the first leg we played well and hurt them. Tonight, things went wayward. ‘We didn’t manage to counter their performance.’