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Thibaut Courtois will start for Real Madrid in the UCL final – Ancelotti

Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that Thibaut Courtois will start in goal for Real Madrid in Saturday’s Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund, calling the match the “most dangerous” in football, with the club’s biggest prize in Game.

Courtois missed much of the season with a torn ACL, but returned to fitness earlier this month, and ESPN reported that he was ready to start ahead of Andriy Lunin, who had excelled in his absence.

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Madrid are heavy favorites heading into the match at Wembley Stadium, London, as they look to win the European Cup for a record 15th time.

“Lunin has had the flu and has not been able to train,” Ancelotti said in his pre-final press conference on Friday. “Tomorrow he will travel. He will be on the bench, so Courtois will play.”

Madrid have won five Champions Leagues in the last decade, the most recent in Ancelotti’s first season at the club, in 2022, while Dortmund won the competition once, in 1997.

“A final is a final, it is the most important and most dangerous game,” Ancelotti said. “You have to enjoy being here, and then you start worrying that things might go wrong.

“You are close to the most important thing in football, winning the Champions League, and you are afraid that it will slip away… The more afraid you are, the happier you are when you win it.”

Veterans Luka Modric, Dani Carvajal and Nacho Fernandez would equal club legend Paco Gento’s six European Cups with Madrid if they win the trophy on Saturday.

“It was something unimaginable, but we are here and we are very happy, enjoying this moment,” Modric said. “Let’s hope that tomorrow we can take another step as a team. Having six European Cups would be something impressive.”

Coach Ancelotti praised forward Rodrygo, whose comments describing Manchester City (beaten by Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals) as the “best team in the world” in an interview with GQ raised suspicions this week, fueling speculation about a possible exit.

“I have a lot of confidence in my players, I know they will give everything,” Ancelotti said. “Rodrygo is very important, he has been, he is and will be, we have no doubts about that.”

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