Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has suggested that defender Pepe could miss the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid on May 24. The defender has been struggling with a series of injuries the last few weeks. He was taken off in the Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich at the Allianz arena. Back then, it was suggested that he would be back in time to play in the final. Now, it has been put in serious doubt, as Madrid are likely to be without him and Karim Benzema according to Ancelotti.
The Italian, though, had positive news for the Real Madrid fans by suggesting that both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale will be fit for the final. Once again, these two players have not been feeling well in the last few weeks. Ronaldo was named in the starting line-up against Espanyol on the final day of the season, but he was taken off in the warmup after feeling muscle strain. The injury to Pepe is likely to force Ancelotti into fielding youngster Rafael Varane. The defender has seen little action throughout the season, but he has been praised by former manager José Mourinho as the best young defender in the world.
Real Madrid’s opposition, Atletico Madrid also come into the match with several injury problems.
“They’re the two players we have doubts about. I’m a realist and as of today they can’t play. There are four days left and we’ll make our final decision. If Pepe can’t play, Varane can take his place. As for Benzema, we can understand that the player isn’t at 100%, but if he has injury problems, it’s better if he doesn’t play. If we don’t think he’s risking an injury he’ll play. Bale had a minor problem in the pre-season, but he has shown his quality and he’s in good shape,” said Ancelotti.