SIMEONE NOT GIVING UP ON COSTA
Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone said he will give Diego Costa and Arda Turan every chance to prove their fitness ahead of the Champions League final against Real Madrid on Sunday morning (Singapore time).
Both players were forced off with injuries inside the first 25 minutes, as Atletico claimed their first La Liga title in 18 years with a 1-1 draw away to Barcelona at the weekend.
Spanish media reported on Monday that Costa (right) will miss the final after suffering the recurrence of a hamstring problem, while Turan has a hip injury.
"There are still a few days to go and we are not going to jump the gun because it is too early for such an important game, but we need the players to be in the right condition," said Simeone.
"We will wait to see how Costa and Turan recover until the end of the week and we will look for alternatives if they don't recover."
Atletico go into the game full of confidence, having ended Real and Barcelona's 10-year domination of La Liga and having lost just twice in 10 meetings with the two this season.
However, Simeone played down the influence winning the league could have in Lisbon.
"Winning is always good, but you have to move on straight away. We need to be 100 per cent concentrated and I am sure the players will respond as they have always done in the biggest games," said Simeone.
Victory on Sunday morning would deliver the fifth trophy of a glorious two-and-a-half year spell since Simeone took over in December 2011.
The Argentinian dispelled rumours that he could leave the club at the end of the season.
"I am very happy where I am. There has been a great progression. We won the Europa League and the European Supercup, then the Copa del Rey final and reached the Champions League. Now we have won La Liga and the team continue to grow," he said.
"If we maintain a competitive team, we are going to fight with the best despite the economic differences. I will stay here next year."
Both sides are likely to be weakened as Real also have doubts over the fitness of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. However, Simeone believes the absence of the suspended Xabi Alonso in the Real midfield could be the biggest setback of all.
"He is one of the best, but (Carlo) Ancelotti has alternatives," said Simeone.
"Whether it is (Asier) Illarramendi, (Sami) Khedira or Casemiro, one of those three will play." - AFP.