David Luiz and Gary Cahill have revealed how they worked around the clock to get fit for Chelsea's UEFA Champions League final against Bayern Munich.
Centre-backs Luiz and Cahill both took part in full training yesterday for the first time since picking up hamstring injuries within 10 days of each other last month.
They had looked major doubts for Saturday's Allianz Arena showpiece, something that would have left Chelsea without any recognised centre-backs in the absence of the suspended John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic.
Luiz, who was delighted to announce his return to fitness, said: "I had treatment every day, in the morning, in the afternoon and evening. People don't know that but I was always hopeful and now I'm so I'm happy because I am 100 per cent for training."
Cahill added: "We've spent every day and every afternoon working on it and treating it to get it right and the work's paid off. Hopefully, I can get the training under my belt this week and be ready to go."
We've spent every day and every afternoon working on it and treating it to get it right and the work's paid off.
Luiz has not played for a month, with Cahill sitting out the last three weeks. There had been concerns neither would be match fit on Saturday but the latter said: "I've missed games but I don't think at this stage of the season you're going to lose too much fitness. It's not like I've been out for months, so it shouldn't matter too much."
Luiz revealed he had an added incentive to get fit when fellow Brazil star Ramires was suspended for the final after getting booked needlessly in last month's epic semi-final against Barcelona. "Before the game against Barcelona, I told Ramires to play for him and for me," Luiz said.
"After the game he hugged me and told me [to play the final] for him. But I will not only play the final for me or for him or our families, I will play it for Brazil. I am sure many Brazilians would love to be on the pitch, so I will do my best for them."
Although Luiz and Cahill look like being passed fit for Saturday's showdown, there was bad news on midfielder Florent Malouda, who caretaker Di Matteo revealed was "touch and go" after picking up a hamstring strain of his own in Sunday's final Premier League game of the season against Blackburn.
Di Matteo was intent on masterminding "something extraordinary" in what could prove his last match in charge of Chelsea. The Italian once again admitted he did not think becoming the first manager to lead the club to European Cup glory would boost his hopes of being appointed on a permanent basis.
Di Matteo, who has enjoyed a rollercoaster 10 weeks in charge, said: "I have a big drive and a big motivation to do something extraordinary for this club. That's all I want to do. "Whatever comes afterwards, there's always a reason why things happen."