Champions League final 2014: Madrid derby could be without its star names as Atletico have major doubts over Diego Costa and Arda Turan while Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale remain questionable

Diego Simeone admits he needs his players in 'good condition' while Cristiano Ronaldo insists he will take part in the final

European football’s biggest game could be without some of its biggest stars when Real Madrid host neighbours Atletico Madrid in the final of the Champions League on Saturday night.

Both of Spain’s capital clubs have been convincing in their respective routes to Benfica’s Estádio da Luz but their successful seasons domestically and in Europe have caught up with them in recent weeks with both suffering injuries to key players.

Atletico’s first La Liga triumph in 18 years came at a cost at the Camp Nou on Saturday night as top-scorer Diego Costa and midfielder Arda Turan both limped off inside the first 25 minutes. Diego Simeone’s men hung on to claim a 1-1 draw that was enough to see them crowned Spanish champions but the key duo are now big doubts for Lisbon.

"We will wait to see how the Diego Costa and Arda Turan injury situation evolves by the end of week," said Simeone. "We will seek alternatives if they do not recover in time.” He added: “This is not a game for players at 80 per cent. Obviously we need players who are in good condition.”

Read more: Bale admits 'Real players always got you out of your seat'
Ronaldo and Bale could play in final
Simeone holding on to hope that Costa will recover

La Liga’s newly-crowned champions confirmed on Monday that Costa, the club’s top-scorer with 35 goals in all competitions this season, suffered a grade 1 hamstring strain at the Camp Nou. The Spanish international left the pitch in tears with his participation in Saturday’s final and this summer’s World Cup in doubt. The former Braga forward could have played his final match in the red and white with a move to Chelsea on the cards this summer. Turan followed suit just seven minutes later with a pelvic injury that has also threatened his involvement in Lisbon.

Both players are expected to travel with the rest of the squad to the Portuguese capital and be given until the last minute to prove their fitness but Simeone is already planning alternatives. Adrian, who scored in Los Colchoneros’ 3-1 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the semi-final, and Raul Garcia replaced the injured pair at the weekend and the Argentine could stick with the same tried-and-tested formula on Saturday night.

The treatment room at Real Madrid’s Valdebebas training base is just as busy with no fewer than four key players battling to be ready for the club’s biggest match in a decade. There were doubts over the fitness of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Pepe at the start of this week and Blancos manager Carlo Ancelotti revealed mixed news about the quartet’s possible involvement at Tuesday’s open training session and press conference.

The Italian, who has won the competition twice before with Italian giants AC Milan, confirmed that both Bale and Ronaldo are set to play while the fitness of Benzema and Pepe will continue to be  monitored. 

Ronaldo, who shared the European Golden Shoe award with Liverpool’s Luis Suarez with 31 goals apiece this season, pulled out of the warm-up before Madrid’s final La Liga game of the season against Espanyol at the Bernabeu on Saturday. The club’s talisman had been keen to feature to win the Golden Shoe outright but withdrew just before kick-off after complaining of feeling discomfort. The former Manchester United man had missed his side’s previous match, a defeat at Celta Vigo, after limping off just eight minutes into the draw at Real Valladolid but his absence at the weekend was precautionary rather than a setback.

Cristiano Ronaldo looks on in despair during Real Madrid's 1-1 draw with Real Valladolid Cristiano Ronaldo looks on in despair during Real Madrid's 1-1 draw with Real Valladolid He trained separately from the rest of the Madrid squad on Tuesday and will continue to follow his own personal training plan until rejoining his teammates on Thursday, the final training session before Los Merengues travel to Lisbon. "I will be there on Saturday,” he told reporters. "I'm still not 100 per cent right now but I will be at the final. It's something very important, we work throughout the year to play in finals and win them.” Given Ronaldo’s numerous niggling setbacks in the last two months his fitness will be looked upon with suspicion but the former Sporting Lisbon man said he would be “100 per cent” for the final.

Champions League final match preview

Bale was also absent from training on Tuesday but completed the full 90 minutes against Espanyol at the weekend and Ancelotti said: "He's done specific work in the gym. He didn't need to come out on the pitch in today's session.”

The biggest concerns surround Benzema, who laid the foundations for his side’s semi-final success over holders Bayern Munich with the only goal in the first-leg 1-0 win in the Spanish capital, and Pepe. The Frenchman pulled up on Saturday with a groin injury while Pepe is recovering from a calf injury. "They're the only two players about whom we have doubts,” Ancelotti confirmed. “I'm neither optimistic nor pessimistic. I'm a realist and, as things stand right now, of course they wouldn't be able to play.”

The Italian confirmed that Raphael Varane would come in for Pepe if he was not passed fit to feature but the biggest headache would surround Benzema’s absence. Youngster Alvaro Morata has been the former Lyon frontman’s replacement in La Liga but his lack of big-game experience is a worry. Angel Di Maria could also move into Madrid’s front three with Ronaldo moving into a more central role, while Isco provides another option. Jese Rodriguez, Madrid’s revelation in attack this season, is sidelined as he recovers from a knee injury.

Xabi Alonso will miss the final through suspension Xabi Alonso will miss the final through suspension The problems for Los Blancos also stem from Xabi Alonso’s suspension. The Spain international, who lifted the trophy with Liverpool in 2005, collected his third yellow card of the tournament against Munich and his absence will be a big blow in a match that could well be decided in the midfield department. Ancelotti has confirmed that youngster Asier Illarramendi is his first option to replace his fellow Basque but Sami Khedira is also ready to feature after playing in Madrid’s last two matches.

There will be star players absent this weekend and there will be star players not at 100 per cent but there will still be plenty of star quality on show in Lisbon.

Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable