Toby Alderweireld is determined to avoid UEFA Champions League final heartache for the second time in his career as he prepares for the biggest game of his Tottenham Hotspur career.
The Belgian defender, who is set to line-up for Mauricio Pochettino's men against Liverpool in Madrid on Saturday, was on the losing side in 2014 when Real Madrid defeated Atlético de Madrid.
Alderweireld was introduced as a substitute during that derby showpiece but is focused on capturing Champions League redemption at the Wanda Metropolitano this weekend.
“We were so close to winning it,” Alderweireld told Goal.
“[Sergio] Ramos scored in the 90th minute or something so, yeah, the feeling of losing, not winning it is very hard.
“It was [difficult to deal with] because I was 25 years old. It was a strange moment.
“Everyone is saying it is unbelievable about Spurs getting to the final but we’re not happy with playing a final – we want to win it.”
While Liverpool are seasoned veterans on this stage, this will be Tottenham's first European Cup final. It will undoubtedly be a nerve-wracking experience for them, but Alderweireld insists they have left nothing on the training pitch as they prepare for the biggest game of their lives.
“In the last couple of weeks we’ve been training like animals,” he said.
“We’re trying to give our best every day because that is the way we need to work to be in the right state for the final. Everybody wants to be there, to be involved and give their best, and the final is not going to start on Saturday – it started two weeks ago.”