MADRID: Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti insisted both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale will start for his side in the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid on Saturday despite ongoing injury worries.
Both players joined Karim Benzema and Pepe in not training with the rest of their teammates on Tuesday morning with Ronaldo the only one to take to the field as he did his own light workout.
However, Ancelotti is sure the two most expensive players in the world will line-up at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon.
“Bale didn’t train because he did specific work in the gym. We preferred that he did that work in the gym and he didn’t need to go out onto the field.
“The two of them are going to play. That is what is important for us.”
Ronaldo himself claimed that despite missing much of Real’s unsuccessful chase for the La Liga title in recent weeks, he will be back to full fitness for the clash in his homeland.
“These things can happen. We train every day and play ever weekend and midweek, so it is normal that sometimes the body reacts negatively. I have had some bad luck and small problems towards the end of the season, but it is normal,” said the World Player of the Year.
“Every player in the world suffers from injuries and the important thing is I feel good and come Saturday I will be at my best level.”
Bale also insisted his absence on Tuesday was nothing to worry about.
“Obviously I didn’t play for two games prior to the weekend so it was just a bit of recovery work,” said the Welshman.
“It is quite normal to miss a day during the week and we have four days until the final.”
Ancelotti, though, was less confident on the state of Benzema and Pepe.
Benzema hobbled off with an abductor injury in Real’s 3-1 win over Espanyol at the weekend, whilst Pepe has been out of action since suffering a calf strain two weeks ago.
“They are the only two players we have doubts about. At the moment I am not pessimistic nor optimistic. We have four days to take a final decision over the doubts we have for the game.”
Real and Atletico have already met four times this season with Ancelotti’s men emerging victorious 5-0 on aggregate in the Copa del Rey semi-finals, whilst Atletico had the upper hand on their way to winning a first La Liga title for 18 years.
And Ancelotti is expecting a tight encounter given the similarity between the teams.
“There are no secrets for this game. The two teams know each other very well. As in all finals it will be a balanced game,” he said.
However, he batted away suggestions that Real were under more pressure to win in Lisbon given their failure to win La Liga.
“I am proud to reach the final with Real Madrid. I don’t feel pressure, I am just happy to be a part of this moment.
“The work we have done in the Champions League has been very good. It was our objective at the start of the season to reach the Champions League final and many teams have to watch it on the television. We have the luck to be playing in it.” REUTERS