He ended the final of the FIFA Club World Cup Morocco 2014 with tears in his eyes and yet, though disappointment was still etched on the face of Leandro Romagnoli when attending the media post-game, the San Lorenzo skipper clearly knew he and his team-mates had given everything they could in the 2-0 defeat to Real Madrid.
And having been thrown into the fray as a 57th-minute sub, with his team already two down, there is no doubt El Pipi’s introduction brought about a marked improvement in El Ciclón’s play. Following the match, the 33-year-old schemer gave his views exclusively to FIFA.com.
FIFA.com: What’s the feeling in the dressing room after putting in a solid display but not being able to come away with the win?
Leandro Romagnoli: There’s a sense of sadness about not having achieved the objective we set ourselves when leaving Argentina, as well as not having been able to give all those people who’ve followed us over something to celebrate.
What was your verdict on the game?
We knew it’d be a very tough game but we didn’t fall very far short. We made a couple of errors [for Madrid’s two goals] and you can’t afford a single moment of carelessness against a team like this, with players of this class. In general terms though I think we put in a good performance, but we could have done with keeping the ball better and creating a few more chances. We did better in the second half but it wasn’t enough.
Do you think that Real Madrid took their foot off the pedal after going 2-0 up?
Yes, I think that’s partly to do with it. They started to drop back, cede ground to us and play a more counter-attacking style. For our part we tried to control possession more and we created the odd threat by shooting from distance, but it wasn’t to be.
Did you manage to narrow the gap that appeared to exist between the two teams on paper?
The first half was very tough. More than anything we were trying to keep them at bay, rather than trying to play ourselves. They had a few chances, which weren’t that clear-cut, but then they took advantage of our errors. We ought to have gone for it a bit more. We did towards the end but it was too late by then.
What’s your overall view on San Lorenzo’s historic first appearance at this tournament?
It’s been a lovely experience for all the players and the club, though we’re very sad that we didn’t win, as that’s what we all really wanted. All we can do is say a big ‘thank you’ to the people who’ve stuck by us all the way. Whenever we’re with them, we’re happy.
What’s the biggest positive you’ll take from Morocco 2014?
The level of commitment of this group of players. We never stopped trying to do our best.