Ronaldo fit for final

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti insists Cristiano
Ronaldo will start the Champions League final on his
return to Lisbon on Saturday – but has worries over
the fitness of Karim Benzema and Pepe.
Ronaldo has suffered a series of muscular injuries
over the past few weeks, but the World Player of the
Year will be fit to take on Atletico Madrid, and he
will be joined by Gareth Bale in the Real attack.
However, it is unclear whether the world’s two most
expensive players will be joined up front by
Benzema as he and Pepe have not trained at all this
week until taking part in a light session with their
team-mates on Friday evening.
“Cristiano is fine and has no problem,” said
Ancelotti.
“We have to check situation with Pepe and Karim
because they have not trained this week and after
training we have to take the decision for Saturday.”
Real are looking to end a 12-year wait for their 10th
European Cup and this is their first final since 2002.
However, despite losing out on La Liga to Atletico,
they justified their tag as favourites for the
competition by destroying holders Bayern Munich
5-0 in the semi-finals.
Ancelotti could become the first man to win the
competition three times as a coach in the
Champions League era with victory at the Estadio da
Luz and the Italian is looking for a repeat of the
performance against Bayern.
He said: “I am calm. In these games you don’t have
to work so hard in the preparation because the
players are already so motivated. You just have to
keep them calm and give them very clear
instructions for the game.
“I would love to see a repeat of the game against
Bayern. If we play like that again we will have a
great chance of winning.”
One of the heroes from the last time Real won the
Champions League was captain Iker Casillas as he
came on as a substitute to make a number of key
saves late on to deny Bayer Leverkusen.
Victory at Hampden Park in Glasgow against the
Germans sealed a second Champions League
triumph in three years for the then 20-year-old
Casillas and he admits winning the trophy for a third
time after such a long wait would be extra special.
“There are times when you don’t realise what you
have achieved,” said the Spanish captain.
“This time we have reached the final after 12 years
and therefore we value it a lot. Behind everything
there is a lot of work. The team has known how to
win and overcome disappointments. We deserve to
be in the final.”
Defender Sergio Ramos scored twice early on at the
Allianz Arena to seal Real’s place in the final.
He has won every major trophy on offer at club and
international level bar the Champions League and is
desperate to add European football’s biggest prize to
his honours list.
“After so many years the reward is to enjoy
moments like this. At times football doesn’t allow
you to enjoy the moment, but this is like a dream.
We have worked so hard to get here and we need to
bear that in mind tomorrow,” he said.
“We will give everything we have to bring the
Champions League home.”

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