Dani Carvajal admits his Champions League Final injury and subsequent Euro 2016 absence made celebrating Real Madrid’s Undecima ‘bittersweet.’
Carvajal had to battle Danilo to be Los Blancos’ right-back for much of last season but Zinedine Zidane appeared to prefer the Spain international, Carvajal starting against Atletico Madrid on May 28, but leaving the match early with an injury he immediately knew put him out of Euro 2016.
“I try to take the good side of things. La Undecima is incredible, after a difficult year. Of course, I’m sad I can’t go to the Euros but you have to think things happen for a reason. As soon as I felt my hip I knew I’d done something. I wanted to convince myself it was just a twinge but no,” he told Marca.
“I tried to play, to give everything, but every time it hurt me more. I told the physio at half time, ‘I think I’m hurt.’ I told him I was going to try and play the second half, to give me a pain killer. I saw [Yannick] Carrasco was on and I already had a booking and couldn’t compete at 100%. I asked for the substitution. The pain was getting worse. I already knew I surely couldn’t reach the Euros.
“I lived the second half and extra time with my heart in my hands. I prayed every Atletico attack would be cut off and that every one of ours would be a goal. When they equalised I knew the team was tired and in a lot of trouble, and the extra time was going to cost us. But they were also in discomfort. And then penalties is a lottery.
“I could barely run to celebrate. The day after I could hardly walk. I tried to celebrate the trophy and make the most of it but always in my mind was that I had fought hard to be in the Euros and I wasn’t going to go. It was bittersweet.
“The first two days I was angry, because in the last squad I wasn’t called and the Coach said Juanfran and Mario Gaspar were ahead. I gritted my teeth like a lion from March to be in the Euros. Then Zidane gave me my chance, I played my best of the season in the last stretch and I was in the preliminary squad and not Mario. I sensed I could make the final squad.
“It’s a little comfort to think I will have more opportunities in my life. There’s a World Cup in Russia in two years and I want to be there.”