‘Pepe & Benzema our only doubts’

Carlo Ancelotti has admitted that Pepe and Karim Benzema are Real Madrid’s only injury risks ahead of the Champions League final.

The Portuguese centre-back and the France international have both been recovering from muscle injuries, with neither taking part in Los Blancos’ open training session this morning.

And the Coach has conceded that the pair are in danger of missing the final with Atletico Madrid, but has given Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo the okay.

“They are our only two doubts going into the game. As it stands today, neither of them can play,” he told a Press conference.

“But we have four days and we’ll make a decision nearer the time. If Pepe can’t play, Varane will.

“Karim is not at 100 per cent and if he is at risk of aggravating his injury, he won’t play. I don’t think it’s a problem for Karim.

“Gareth has been working through his own specific training routine in the gym. He is excited because this is his first final.

“He had a few problems at the start of the season but he has scored a lot of goals and has done a good job for us.”

The Italian then commented on the match itself, and his own personal experience of the European cup.

“There are no secrets between us – we know each other well and like any final, it will be evenly-balanced and evenly-fought.

“Atlético are a very solid side who work well as a unit. To beat them, we will need maximum effort and to play as a team.

“We’ll also need the support from our fans – the same support they gave us against Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the semi-final.

“I am very proud to be contesting this final with Real Madrid. I’m happy and I don’t feel under any pressure – just happiness to be in this moment.

“We have enjoyed a good Champions League campaign and our objective from the start was to make the final.

“It’s a real luxury to be able to play it. I’ve taken part in many games like this – this is my seventh final and we are going to prepare as best as we can.”

Ancelotti was then asked if there was a favourite for the match, and his future should the Merengues lose the game.

“I don’t think there is a favourite. It will be an evenly-fought game. Atlético have shown their quality right from the start of the season.

“Normally, in finals, there aren’t any favourites. Atlético are on a high after winning the league and we have a strong desire to win.

“We’re excited because we can sense that the trophy is close. We have to put in one last effort and that is what we are working towards.

“I’m not thinking about the future. My future is clear – independently of what happens in the final. I am happy at Madrid and want to continue whether we win the ‘Décima’ or not.”

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