Ancelotti: Real Madrid can make history

The Italian believes his side can create something special in the Champions League final, but warned his players to remain focused

Carlo Ancelotti has spoken of his desire to create history with Real Madrid ahead of their Champions League final against Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

Atleti lifted La Liga last weekend, while Madrid won the Copa del Rey a little over a month ago, setting up an intriguing battle between the city rivals in Europe.

“The team has been fantastic in the Champions League and we now have a great opportunity of becoming a big part of the club’s history,” Ancelotti told reporters.

“We are not obsessed by it but it is something that motivates all of us. We will use all our energy to try and win.”

However, Ancelotti has admitted that he is not expecting to breeze past Atletico and has called on his side to remain focused.

“There are no secrets ahead of this match. Both teams know each other well and finals are always very tight.

“We know we are up against a very solid side whose players work really well together.

“It will be difficult and in order to win we have to work really hard, stay united and the fans will need to help us like they did in the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona and in the Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich.

“We need to have the required amount of cool-headedness to prepare for these kinds of matches. Fear is not a good thing. We will try to get the tactics right; when you’re focused on what you have to do on the pitch, you forget about the fear.

“With the season they’ve had, Atletico have shown that they are a team with a lot of quality. There are no favourites in a final.

“It might be the case that after winning the league Atletico are still in a state of euphoria, but we are really up for winning this competition because we have been playing so well in it up until now.”

Ancelotti also spoke about his team news ahead of Saturday’s final, revealing that Pepe and Karim Benzema are major doubts but reassuring fans Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo will be fit.

“Pepe and Benzema are 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, [Raphael] 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.

“Both Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo will play. Bale had a minor problem in the pre-season, but he has shown his quality and he’s in good shape.

“He’s very important for the team and he’s excited to be playing in his first European Cup final. He’ll have a great match.”

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