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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 26 June 2024

La Liga: Madrid rivals ready for final push

Simeone said he will have to wait on the fitness of some of his players, with only Thomas Lemar definitely ruled out due to a thigh problem

Reuters Madrid Published 22.05.21, 02:37 AM
Diego Simeone.

Diego Simeone. File photo

La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid are ready for one final effort as they look to secure a first La Liga title since 2014 on Saturday.

Diego Simeone’s side travel to relegation-threatened Valladolid knowing that if they better Real Madrid’s result against Villarreal, they will be crowned champions.

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Both games kick-off at 1800 local time (9.30pm IST) on Saturday.

“It’s a final against Valladolid, with two sides fighting for their own different, but important, objectives and we will both give absolutely everything they’ve got to achieve it,” Simeone said.

“It’s been a long season, with all sides going through their own problems. Right now we’re two sides fighting it out for the title, three for two relegation spots. You need to give your all in every game in this league and hope that at the end you’ve got what you set out to do.”

Simeone said he will have to wait on the fitness of some of his players, with only Thomas Lemar definitely ruled out due to a thigh problem.

“We’ll see how two or three of them who are currently under observation are, to see if they can start or not,” the Argentine said. “When we know that, then we’ll make a decision on the team tomorrow (Saturday) morning.”

Valladolid, who are owned by former Real and Brazil striker Ronaldo Nazario, need to win and hope other results go in their favour in order to stay up.

Zidane future

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane’s future at the Bernabeu continues to be under scrutiny.

The Frenchman batted away questions if he will remain at the helm, insisting his only focus was on toppling visitors Villarreal.

“It’s not important if I am here or someone else is, the important thing is the team and what we want to achieve,” he told a news conference.

“For us the only thing on our minds is the game. We play tomorrow (Saturday) and now isn’t the time to talk about it (his future).

“It’s been a tough campaign but we are excited by the chance of being able to win La Liga.”

Zidane confirmed the return of club captain Sergio Ramos for the game against Unai Emery’s side.

However, Eden Hazard’s name was on the growing absentee list which already features Dani Carvajal, Toni Kroos, Lucas Vazquez and Ferland Mendy. “Hazard wasn’t in training because he's got an issue and he won’t be available,” Zidane said.

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