European soccer’s biggest game will feature at least one of the best players in the world.
On Tuesday, Cristiano Ronaldo promised that he would be healthy enough to play against Atletico Madrid in the 2014 UEFA Champions League final Saturday in Lisbon.
“I’ll be there,” Ronaldo said, according to The Associated Press. “Today, I’m not 100 percent, but I will be for the final. It’s very important. We worked all season to play the final and win it.”
Hamstring and knee problems have sidelined Ronaldo at various points in recent weeks. But the Portuguese superstar should be available, as Real Madrid looks to lift the European Cup for the 10th time in its history and the first time in 12 years.
Meanwhile, the news isn’t so good for Atletico Madrid and star striker Diego Costa.
Last Saturday, Costa limped off the field with an apparent recurrence of a hamstring injury 15 minutes into Atletico Madrid’s ultimately triumphant La Liga (Spanish first division) title decider against Barcelona.
On Tuesday, Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone said that while Costa’s prognosis is day to day, he won’t field the Brazilian-born Spanish international in a game of this magnitude unless he is ready to run at full throttle.
“The week has just started, there are still some days until we have to decide,” Simeone said, according to The AP. “It’s still early. I’m convinced that this is not a game to be played at 80 percent. He has to be 100 percent to play.”
The all-Madrid final is destined to be a closely contested affair in which the teams must be as close to full strength as possible. The way things stand with four days to go, it looks like Real Madrid could have the advantage in the attacking department.
Photo via Twitter/@ZubairuAs