"Bale, CR7 will play; as it stands, Pepe and Benzema can't"

Carlo Ancelotti answered questions on Saturday’s Champions League final from international reporters in today’s UEFA Media day in Valdebebas.

Carlo Ancelotti answered questions on Saturday’s Champions League final from international reporters in today’s UEFA Media day in Valdebebas.

Do you see the final being similar to any of the previous meetings with Atlético over the past season? “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”.

Pepe and Benzema: “They are our only two doubts going into the game. As it stands today, neither of them can play; but we have four days and we’ll make a decision nearer the time. If Pepe can’t play, Varane will”.

Personal sensations ahead of the 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”,

Atlético waiting on Arda and Diego Costa: “I’ll be honest with you, both of them are very important players but Atlético have played many great games when both of them have been unavailable. Atleti’s strength is collective; they won’t change even if Costa cannot play”.

Illarramendi: “Illarra seems fine to me – just like the rest of the players. He is confident and relaxed. I can confirm that he is available to play but I can’t say what team I will field yet. Fortunately for me, the pre-match press conference is on Friday and I will announce my team on Saturday. I more or less have my team in mind”.

Millions of madridistas in Lisbon and millions watching on television: “I have a clear memory of the journey from the team hotel to Mestalla for the Copa del Rey final and seeing how excited the fans were. Their support will help us, we want this as much as they do and I’m sure that the support will be just the same in Lisbon as it was in Valencia”.

Favourites: “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”.

Atmosphere: “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”.

Bale: “He 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”.

Coentrão: “I think he will still be with us next season. He has enjoyed a good season and there is a healthy competition for the left-back position with Marcelo. He is available for the game”.

Will Benzema be risked? “He 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”.

The key to winning a Champions League final: “There are many key factors – not just one. It’s important to retain a sense of calm during our preparations. Fear isn’t good – you shouldn’t feel afraid ahead of a final”.

Your plans should Madrid fail to win: “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”.

Last modified onTuesday, 20 May 2014 17:02

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