Atletico captain hails Simeone

  • Last Updated: May 24 2014, 8:45 BST

Atletico Madrid captain Gabi has paid tribute to head coach Diego Simeone as the club attempt to complete a remarkable double in the Champions League final on Saturday night.

 Gabi: Speaking ahead of tonight's final
Gabi: Speaking ahead of tonight's final

Atletico Madrid captain Gabi has paid tribute to head coach Diego Simeone as the club attempt to complete a remarkable double in the Champions League final on Saturday night.

Atleti go into the showpiece against city rivals Real looking to add the European Cup to the Primera Division title they claimed for the first time in 18 years last weekend.

Their rise to prominence over Real and Barcelona has come under the tutelage of Simeone who, in two and a half years at the helm, has guided the club to the Europa League title, the European Super Cup, the Copa del Rey and the Spanish league.

And if they top off those achievements with victory in Lisbon on Saturday night, Gabi is in no doubt where much of the credit should go.

"We believe in Simeone," he said. "For me he is the best. He has helped us to win, we are all here to win."

The Argentinian coach himself insists Atletico can triumph even if star striker Diego Costa is ruled out by injury.

Atletico fans fear that Costa, who has been strongly linked with a summer move to Chelsea, may have played his last match for their side.

But the club have been battling to help him overcome the hamstring problem that makes him a major doubt, going to such lengths as to put him through a course of treatment that involves horse placenta.

He trained on Friday evening, giving hope to those who felt he had little chance of being involved.

"We'll examine him but we have other injury doubts too," said Simeone. "They trained better yesterday but we'll wait and see."

Turkish midfielder Arda Turan was also hurt against Barcelona in the final game of the league campaign, but appears more likely to make the starting line-up on Saturday than Costa.

"Costa and Arda are important players but they're just names," Simeone added. "It will either be them playing or two other players that we know."

Real have injury worries of their own with doubts over the fitness of Karim Benzema and Pepe.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti said he would see how the pair reacted to Friday night's training session before making a final decision over their participation.

But star men Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale are fully fit after recent injury problems and ready to help Real land their 10th European crown - and first since 2002.

"Cristiano and Bale are fine, no problems, they have trained well," Ancelotti said at a press conference.

"But Pepe and Benzema haven't trained this week.

"We will take the decision for tomorrow after this session which they will take part in."

Forward Benzema and centre-back Pepe are struggling with hamstring and calf injuries respectively.

The fitness of Ronaldo is the biggest boost for Real as they look to gain revenge on the side who beat both them and Barcelona to the La Liga title.

Ancelotti added: "Ronaldo is a very important weapon for us. He has impressive statistics and we need the best from him. He has had a fantastic Champions League with 16 goals and helped the club reach the final."