Peter Crouch has admitted that getting sent off against Real Madrid while playing for Tottenham was his biggest career regret.
Tottenham outperformed expectations in their first-ever time in the Champions League campaign under Harry Redknapp during the 2010/11 season.
After finishing top of what was a very difficult group, they overcame AC Milan in the round of 16 to book a place in the quarter-final, where they came up against Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid.
Crouch had played an important part in not just helping Spurs qualify for the Champions League the previous season but also in their run to the quarter-final, including scoring the all-important goal at the San Siro in the 1-0 win over Milan.
However, the striker was sent off 14 minutes into the game at the Santiago Bernabeu after two rash challenges and essentially cost Spurs the tie as the home side took full advantage and put four past Redknapp’s side in the first leg.
Recalling that night at the Bernabeu, the former Tottenham striker told Paddy Power: “When people ask me about disappointments in my career, the one that springs to mind straight away is getting sent off at the Bernabeu while playing for Tottenham.
“We were on a great run, having beaten Inter Milan and AC Milan – I got the winner at the San Siro and we got through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League to face Real Madrid.
“I was so excited, as I had never played at the Bernabeu before. I was like a big kid looking around, thinking ‘this is amazing’, but within 10 or 15 minutes I get two yellow cards and get sent off!
“The dressing room is underneath the stadium and there are tiers upon tiers of fans and you can hear them. I’m sat in the dressing room with a towel over my head, hearing goal after goal after goal going in and i’m thinking ‘that’s down to me’. That was low point, definitely, and a big regret.”
“I do have a little excuse when it comes to the cards though. The first one was me being excitable, so I can give the referee that. It was a tackle on Sergio Ramos.
“For the second one, I went to block a ball down the line from Marcelo and I did dive in a bit but I didn’t touch him. He’s jumped up in the air and rolled around, and there is a camera angle where you can see he looks at the referee and he celebrates as the red card comes out then he jumps back up.
“I’ve never wanted to punch anyone more in my life. For them, that was seen as a win. They’ve won the game and they played me. I was naive to let myself get caught up in that.
“I was pumped up for the game I thought we had a really good chance as we had such a good team. I just got played and I was so angry but that’s why those boys are at the top for so long. It was a disappointing moment.”
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