At the start of the month, when Real Madrid were hit by injuries to a few key players, manager Zinedine Zidane was quick to play down their long-term significance, saying all three of Isco, Dani Carvajal, and Cristiano Ronaldo would be back for Kyiv.
With Ronaldo and Carvajal back in full training today and Isco having returned to action against Celta Vigo on the weekend after he too returned to training last week, it appears the Real Madrid manager wasn’t being optimistic when it came to his predictions.
Players will be tired after a long season, but if Liverpool are to win their sixth European Cup they will have to do so against a full strength Madrid side with all their key players fit and available for selection by Zidane at the final in a little less than two weeks.
Before that, though, Madrid have one more league game to worry about, against Villarreal on Saturday, and a win for them combined with an Atletico Madrid loss to Eibar in the final round would see Real end the domestic season in second place.
Villarreal, for their part, know that they will finish either fifth or sixth following the final round of games, with either getting them into the group stages of next season’s Europa League. For both, then, there is something to play for—but not much.
Certainly, for Madrid and their fans, all eyes will already be on the Champions League final—even if an unlikely second place finish ahead of their local rivals would add some shine to what has been a largely disappointing domestic campaign this season.
Liverpool, meanwhile, have headed to Marbella for a break and mid-season training camp to prepare for the final, something Klopp has made a regular feature at Liverpool any time his side have an extended break between matches.