Real Madrid receive fitness boost

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti is confident that Cristiano Ronaldo will be fit and ready for the Champions League final against rivals Atletico Madrid on May 24 (Match Betting – Real 10/11, Draw 12/5, Atletico 3/1).

The competition’s top-scorer has been hampered by injuries in the last month and was pulled out of Los Blancos’ side to face Espanyol on Saturday after struggling in the warm-up.

Ronaldo had been due to start the match but the decision was taken not to risk the forward with the final coming up next week and Ancelotti is confident his talisman will be fit.

“Cristiano wasn’t comfortable during the warm up so we didn’t take any risks,” Ancelotti said. “We are calm because we think he can play in the final.”

Real also suffered another injury worry as Karim Benzema was substituted after picking up a problem during the 3-1 win, but the manager is again adamant that the Frenchman will be involved in the final.

“Benzema has a strained hamstring and he shouldn’t be a doubt for the final,” he added.

Centre-back Pepe is the most doubtful for the match against Atletico as he continues to recover from a calf problem in his left leg, but Ancelotti is in bullish mood about the Portugal international’s chances of featuring in Lisbon next week.

“Pepe’s situation has improved,” Ancelotti continued. “Tomorrow he will start working on the pitch. Up until now he has been doing gym work. Tomorrow he will start running and we are confident he can play.”

Atletico, who are priced at 6/4 to lift the trophy and complete a season double having claimed the La Liga title on Saturday, also have injury worries of their own after Diego Costa and Arda Turan were both substituted having picked up injuries in the title-winning 1-1 draw at Barcelona.

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