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Soccer-Atletico still waiting on Costa, Arda fitness

Reuters

* Costa struggling with a hamstring strain

* Arda hoping to shake off hip injury (Adds quotes, details, byline)

By Iain Rogers

LISBON, May 23 (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid are still sweating on the fitness of Diego Costa and Arda Turan and a decision on whether they can play in Saturday's Champions League final against Real Madrid has not yet been taken, coach Diego Simeone said on Friday.

Costa, Atletico's top scorer, and playmaker Arda limped out of last weekend's La Liga title decider at Barcelona with hamstring and hip injuries respectively and there were fears they would not be available for the showpiece in Lisbon.

"Later on we will evaluate their condition and see if they can train better today," Simeone told a news conference. "We will see how they themselves are feeling and depending on what the team needs we will make a decision," added the Argentine.

"Costa and Arda are important players but they are just two names on the list. It will either be them playing or two other lads who already know who they are."

Costa and Arda trained with their team mates on Thursday before Atletico flew to the Portuguese capital from their base near Segovia on Friday morning.

Atletico held their final session before the final at Lisbon's Stadium of Light immediately after Simeone's news conference and the pair took part in a passing drill.

If they are unavailable, Simeone could replace Costa with fellow forward Adrian, who scored the opening goal in the semi-final, second leg at Chelsea, while Raul Garcia or Diego could come in for Arda.

The Benfica stadium is hosting the first final featuring two teams from the same city in the 59-year history of the competition.

Atletico, appearing in only their second final after they lost out to Bayern Munich in 1974, are seeking their debut European crown and will be trying to deny Real, through to their 13th showpiece and their first since their last continental triumph in 2002, a record-extending 10th.

OUTSIDE PRESSURES

Simeone, bidding to become only the third non-European to win the European Cup as a coach and the first since compatriot Helenio Herrera in 1965, said he was not overawed by the occasion.

The 44-year-old won the Europa League with Atletico in 2012 and followed that up a year later with the King's Cup, when they beat Real 2-1 in the final, and this season's La Liga title.

As a player, he won the UEFA Cup with Inter Milan as well as league and cup titles with Atletico and Lazio.

"I don't feel as overwhelmed as some people seem to think but I feel the weight of responsibility on my shoulders," Simeone said.

"I am feeling good, I feel responsible but all I care about is the game itself.

"That's what I have to do, focus on the match and ignore everyone else - seeing all these people I know it's a big match.

"In terms of motivation, outside pressures make it easier to focus. We have to ignore those factors when we play, though.

"We don't know how Madrid will play. We've worked with different possibilities and we will try to block them and find a way to control the match the way we need." (Editing by Ken Ferris and Justin Palmer)

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