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Despite maintaining their 100% home record in this season's UEFA Champions League with a 2-1 victory in regulation time against FC Bayern München, Sergio Ramos said it would be "difficult to rise again" after losing out to the Bundesliga side on penalties in Wednesday's semi-final.
A Cristiano Ronaldo double inside the opening 14 minutes of the second leg pushed Madrid into a commanding position in the tie, but Arjen Robben's penalty levelled the aggregate score before the half-hour. It stayed that way through extra time before Ramos – like team-mates Ronaldo and Kaká preceding him – then missed in the shoot-out. Bastian Schweinsteiger eventually netted the winning effort to earn Bayern a fourth victory in five semi-final ties against Madrid.
If I had to take another penalty in the same situation tomorrow I would," said Spanish international centre-back Ramos. "When you feel you have enough confidence to do something like that – as I did – you want to help your team. Trying to reach a UEFA Champions League final by taking a penalty represents immense pressure but personally I have always been OK with that.
We left our hearts and our souls out there on the pitch such was our effort and all we can say is it is a pity to go out on penalties. [Bayern] were better than us from the spot. The players who feel most up for it take the penalties. We're not here to reproach anyone. Life goes on and we have another game to prepare for [against Sevilla FC] on Sunday."
Madrid were eliminated at this stage by FC Barcelona last year and being denied a showpiece appearance once again left defender Pepe frustrated. "Going out in that way is hard to take," the Portuguese international said. "We did everything we could but were missing the luck that Bayern had in the shoot-out. We are leaving here feeling a little down as we thought we deserved to reach the final."
Preferring to end the night on an optimistic note, the former FC Porto centre-back insisted Madrid would lift themselves for a domestic championship run-in and a likely 32nd Liga title. Pepe is also adamant Madrid will be back to challenge for a tenth European crown. "We came into this match tonight after a weekend win away to Barcelona," he said.
"We have to value the work everyone has put in until now. We have a young team with a lot of quality and next season we will be back competing in the Champions League. We will try to do things as well as we did this year while hoping luck will be on our side."
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