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Ancelotti: “Illarramendi is our first option for Lisbon”

AS AS 16/05/2014 Alvaro de la Rosa

How’s Cristiano? “Cristiano's fine, he'll play tomorrow”.

Links to the AC Milan post: “I’ve read about that, and it’s not true. I have a great friendship with [Adriano] Galliani and we’re in touch a lot it’s a personal relationship, nothing more. My future is quite clear. I am staying here”.

Diego López missing from Friday’s training session: “He’s carrying a minor niggle – a sprain. He was fine earlier this week. We’ve rested him so that he is back in time for the final. He’s only missed a couple of training sessions all season; he’s never had any problems before”.

Who would Real Madrid prefer to win the league? “The only thing that interests us is continuing what we have been doing during the past week – and maintaining the good atmosphere amongst the players. Our preparations have been going well, the players are showing the intensity they need and we have to carry that through into next week. It will be interesting to see how tomorrow’s game [at Camp Nou] turns out and I’m sure whoever deserves to win will win”.

Preparing for Lisbon: “We need to remain relaxed so that we can continue to train well and also prepare ourselves for the final. It’s been a good week because we have practically recovered all of our injured players; we have to continue as we have been doing”.

Will Sami Khedira be given minutes against Espanyol tomorrow? “We’ll give him a run-out because that’s what he needs. He has been inactive for quite a while and that was why we gave him minutes in Vigo; he was fine afterwards. He is another option for us for the Champions League final”.

What marks out of 10 would you give yourself after this first season in charge? Mourinho gave himself top marks... “(smiles) I don’t like given myself marks. I have my own personal opinion. We’ll wait until after the Champions League final in Lisbon – a night everyone is waiting for. After that, I will assess how the season has gone although I don’t like talking about my work. My priorities are the club, the players and then the press – in that order”.

Starting XI against Espanyol: “I’ll decide tomorrow. Only three players (Diego López, Jesé and Pepe) are not available”.

Illarramendi to be handed Xabi Alonso’s role in the Champions League final: “He’s our first option because he is used to playing in Xabi’s position. My opinion has changed on that”.

You used to put on Al Pacino films to motivate the players when you were at AC Milan, have you got anything prepared for the final? “I’ll make a short compilation of what we have done up until now; it will need to be quite short so that the players don’t lose concentration. I’ll prepare something special”.

Zidane, progressing as a coach: “He’s learning. He’s conscientious and has charisma. He knows how to talk to the players, motivate them and plan a training session. He has all of the qualities needed to coach any team, but it’s up to him. On a personal level, I hope that he stays here so that we can continue to coach together”.

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