The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Atletico coach Simeone refuses to rule Diego Costa out of Champions League final
MADRID - Atletico Madrid isn't ruling Diego Costa out of the Champions League final yet despite the striker's chances of playing looking slim.
Costa limped off early in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Barcelona that clinched Atletico's first Spanish league title in 18 years, and the club said on Monday the Brazilian born forward had suffered a right hamstring injury that will be evaluated day-to-day.
Atletico plays city rival Real Madrid in Saturday's final at Estadio do Sport, where it could complete a historic double and ensure the greatest season in club history with a victory.
"The week has just started, there are still some days until we have to decide. It's still early," Simeone said on Monday from the Vicente Calderon Stadium. "I'm convinced that this is not a game to be played at 80 per cent. He has to be 100 per cent to play."
Atletico returns to a European Cup final for just the second time, and first since it lost to Bayern Munich 40 years ago in the only replay in the competition's history.
"We go there with an important motivation after winning the league," Simeone said.
Atletico midfielder Arda Turan looked more likely to play in the final despite also exiting against Barcelona with a hip injury.
Striker Adrian Lopez looks the most likely candidate to replace Costa should he fail to recover in time. Adrian has stepped in for Costa before, helping to set up the winner in the quarterfinal victory over Barcelona after the Spain striker was ruled out because of a similar injury.
"He has a knack for goal, he has talent, he can score. He's played well in the games we've called on him for. He can be a decisive player," Simeone said. "If (Costa and Turan) are not available, whoever is available will play."
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