Diego Costa and Arda Turan’s fitness still in question
LISBON // Atletico Madrid are still sweating on the fitness of Diego Costa and Arda Turan, and a decision on whether they can play in Saturday night’s Uefa Champions League final against Real Madrid had still not been taken, coach Diego Simeone said Friday.
Costa, Atletico’s top scorer, and the playmaker Arda limped out of last weekend’s Primera Liga title decider at Barcelona with hamstring and hip injuries, respectively, and there were fears they would not be available for the showpiece in Lisbon.
“Later on, we will evaluate their condition and see if they can train better,” Simeone said at a news conference. “We will see how they themselves are feeling and depending on what the team needs we will make a decision.
“Costa and Arda are important players but they are just two names on the list. It will either be them playing or two other lads who already know who they are.”
Costa and Arda trained with their teammates on Thursday before Atletico flew to the Portuguese capital from their base near Segovia yesterday morning.
Atletico are seeking their first European Cup title and will be trying to deny Real a record-extending 10th.
Atletico held their final session before the final at Lisbon’s Stadium of Light immediately after Simeone’s news conference last night and the pair took part in a passing drill.
If they are unavailable, Simeone could replace Costa with Adrian, who scored the opening goal in the semi-final second leg at Chelsea, while Raul Garcia or Diego could come in for Arda.
Simeone, 44, is bidding to become only the third non-European to win the European Cup as a coach and the first since Argentine compatriot Helenio Herrera in 1965.
He said that he is not overawed by the occasion, perhaps because as a player he won the Uefa Cup with Inter Milan as well as league and cup titles with Atletico and Lazio.
“I don’t feel as overwhelmed as some people seem to think but I feel the weight of responsibility on my shoulders,” Simeone said.
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Published: May 23, 2014 04:00 AM