• Champions League

Ronaldo 'will play' Champions League final, says Ancelotti

ESPN staff
May 19, 2014
Cristiano Ronaldo will play

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has reiterated his belief that Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema will be fit to start Saturday's Champions League final against Atletico Madrid in Lisbon.

Portugal captain Ronaldo was named in the Madrid team for Saturday's 3-1 La Liga win over Espanyol, but pulled out in the warm-up after feeling discomfort in a hamstring.

Benzema missed the 2-0 defeat at Celta Vigo on May 11 with a knee problem which he had reportedly been carrying for some weeks.

The France international started against Espanyol on Saturday but hurt an adductor muscle as he made the opening goal for Gareth Bale and subsequently asked to be substituted.

Ronaldo, 29, has completed the 90 minutes in only two of his club's last 10 games because of thigh and knee issues, and last week Portugal coach Paulo Bento said the problems would have to be "managed" during the World Cup.

However, Ancelotti told reporters at Madrid's Valdebebas training ground on Monday that he was confident both attackers would be able to start the final.

"I believe they will play," he said. "They are fine."

Ronaldo and Benzema worked individually on their recoveries at Monday's session, Madrid's official website reported.

Speaking after the Espanyol match on Saturday, Ancelotti had also been optimistic.

"He [Ronaldo] didn't feel comfortable and we decided to take him out to avoid any risk," he explained. "If today had been the final, of course Cristiano would have risked it and played - but we didn't need to do that today. We think he can play the final.

"Benzema had a twinge in the adductor, but he shouldn't have any problem in playing the final."

Diego Lopez, Angel Di Maria, Raphael Varane and Pepe missed Monday's group training session. Centre-back Pepe is the most serious concern ahead of the final, having not played since May 7.

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