It's a harsh truth to accept, but it's often the case that even the most sacred of occasions, such as the Champions League final, are influenced by external factors that none can control.
Saturday's contesting of the first-ever intra-city European final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid is no different in that sense, with injuries likely to intrude upon the fixture.
We bring you all the latest team news ahead of the crunch clash at the Estadio da Luz, with player absence affecting both sides of the Spanish capital.
There are some doubts in Carlo Ancelotti's squad this weekend, but one thing for certain is that Xabi Alonso's suspension will not be magically altered, and the Spanish maestro will miss the final.
Asier Illarramendi is fit and ready to go as Alonso's successor this weekend, but Ancelotti could choose to field Sami Khedira in the middle, recently returned from a long-term knee injury but lacking in match fitness, per Sky Sports and ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan:
Ancelotti: "Khedira has not played many games, that’s only problem he has. He has no problems with his knee, he is ready to play."— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) May 20, 2014
The more recent concerns for Real are the potential absences of centre-back Pepe and first-choice striker Karim Benzema, whom the official Champions League Twitter account confirms is a doubt:
Ancelotti: "Benzema has had a great season. If he doesn't play, we'll use a similar player. This game's not about individuals." #UCLfinal— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 23, 2014
Corrigan gives more detail on Pepe's situation, as well as some insight as to what this trio's absence means for Los Blancos:
Ancelotti: “Training today very important to see if Pepe has recovered from his injury, if he can play tomorrow. Cristiano has no problem.”— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) May 23, 2014
If Madrid are missing Pepe, Alonso & Benzema for final [with Varane, Illarra & Isco stepping in] that's a pretty serious situation.— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) May 22, 2014
One major positive for Ancelotti is to hear that Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale are both 100 percent cleared to feature in Lisbon, per BBC Sport, giving the manager some cause for relief.
In Diego Simeone's camp, things aren't quite as troublesome in terms of volume, but it's the quality of Atleti's injury doubts that would lead one to fear for Los Rojiblancos.
Diego Costa and Arda Turan have both been essential attacking figures for the club this term, but beINSports quote Simeone as saying that a call will be made later on Saturday regarding the match fitness of the pair:
The Argentine remains confident in his line-up with or without the talents of top scorer Costa, however, per Sky Sports:
Diego Costa was fit enough to take part in training ahead of the Champions League final against Real Madrid. http://t.co/ZLumIQuaPd— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) May 23, 2014
Diego Simeone says Atletico Madrid can beat Real Madrid in the Champions League final - with or without Diego Costa. http://t.co/RC6xoAOuSP— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) May 23, 2014
If it were up to the neutral, both squads would assuredly have every weapon at their disposal made available to them, but these are the cards that each outfit has been dealt thus far, and Saturday evening will shed some light on who copes better without missing personnel.