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Juanfran says penalty miss has made him a better player and person

Spanish international vows to step up again if needed

Ian Walton/Getty Images

For most players, missing a penalty in the Champions League final would signal an end to their spot-kick duties. Sometimes it may be the manager who makes such a decision but most times it would fall to the player. After all, much success in penalty shootouts boils down to the team's mental readiness for such a moment.

One mistake could cost you and your teammates the chance of glory, and it's a responsibility that most would shy away from. For Juanfran, however, his costly penalty miss in the shootout defeat to Real Madrid over a fortnight ago has become a learning experience.

"Yes I'd take another, that penalty made me a better player and person," Juanfran told Marca. "I have learnt a lot and become stronger. Winning is good and everything is an opportunity to forget that nightmare. I'm lucky that the team played so well and I was able to move on."

The right-back has been ever-present in Atleti's side, and it would take a lot more than a spot-kick smashing off the post for the fans to turn their backs on such a loyal and likable player. That Juanfran would be willing to place that amount of weight on his shoulders again, having gone through the horror of Milan, speaks volumes on the type of character the 31-year-old is. Most players walk away from the pressure that comes with taking a penalty in such an environment, one can only imagine how they would react should the same misfortune that Juanfran endured come their way as well.

Spain and their head coach Vicente del Bosque should count themselves lucky to have a player like Juanfran in their ranks. One of the key contributors to Atleti's recent success, he has the experience and mental strength needed in major tournaments such as the European Championship. It's going to take more than a missed penalty to keep Juanfran from taking part in any battle or challenge that comes his way this summer, and that can only be a good thing as the Spanish squad attempt to defend their crown.