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What are Real Madrid's players doing during their holidays?

How can this affect the team's season?

Denis Doyle/Getty Images

There's been various items in the media lately about Real Madrid players and what they're doing during the close season.   Karim Benzema's been pictured in a New York nightclub in the company of Rhianna and Chris Brown, Sergio Ramos has been to Cuba on a charity promotion with UNICEF, Jese Rodriguez has been training hard with his old physio from last season who's no longer at the club, and the latest one I've seen is of Gareth Bale posing with a New York City kit.

Gareth watched the derby between New York City and Red Bulls on Sunday night and was pictured with City chief executive Ferran Soriano in addition to rapper LL Cool J.  The Sky Blues lost 3 -1 to the Red Bulls but the press were quick to pick up that Soriano is also Chief Exec at Manchester City and also at Melbourne City; the three clubs being linked as part of a franchise.

The word is that New York actually wanted Gareth Bale instead of Frank Lampard; but I'm not sure exactly where that story came from or even if it's authentic.  American readers will know more but at this time of year the rumour mills are working overtime and often a throwaway comment like Gareth Bale saying "this looks like a good club" can be spun to infer that he's after a move to the MLS and to New York in particular.

Cristiano Ronaldo has even had to come out and say to the media "Look I'm happy at Madrid and settled so please will you stop making thing up and leave me in peace?" Or words to that effect.

It's hard to know sometimes where the truth ends and the fiction begins.  There's been so many variations on the Sergio Ramos affair that the whole thing is beginning to take on a whole new meaning and with Louis Van Gaal now saying that he'll only discuss David De Gea at the official level, you could either take that to mean he's agreed to transfer him to Madrid or refused once and for all.

We still don't know for absolute certain whether an official approach has even been made to Manchester United in the same way that we don't know for certain that they've put in an offer for Sergio Ramos in return.  We still don't know whether Iker has other irons in the fire or if he's so intent on staying that another club will literally have to drag him out of Madrid screaming, despite the rumoured interest from Roma.

It's been a strange close season this year, and in so many ways not typical of your usual summer break.  For a start, the management changes were always going to have an effect on all things Madrid, particularly with regards to the players who were out of contract or for whom a move was suggested would be on the cards.

There's also been more than the average number of close season injuries to attend to, thanks in part to the Copa America and in part to the fact that several players ended the season on the treatment table; and of course they're hardly going to be allowed to just disappear for five or six weeks without medical or physio input from the club.

For a player it's no fun picking up an injury just before the end of the season and you can almost see the boarding passes being mentally torn up as a summer of treatment and rehab looms.  Madrid, to be fair, have kept the injury situation fairly low key this time; and although we know that Marcelo had a back injury for example, it appears that the medical staff at the club have just got on with things as you do in those situations.

Jese's situation has been a little bit different, however, and although it's only a few weeks ago that you could see him training hard to keep up his progress since returning to the team, the latest pictures that have emerged have been of him in Las Palmas working with the physio he attributed most of his rehab success to after his ACL injury, Carlos Heredia, who is no longer involved at Real.

We've discussed the medical side in this column on several occasions in the past but with all the conflicting reports about who's doing what and who's actually in charge of the whole operation, we might well have to just wait and see what the exact situation is when the players return to training on the 10th of July.

As far as Jese is concerned, as long as he's fit for the start of the season he'll be happy although it's going to be interesting to see what the feedback is like from the club over his current training routine; it's not as if he's working with someone who's an unknown quantity as far as injury rehab is concerned.

It may well be that Jese's official line is that he's simply spending a few days away from Madrid in the company of a friend; and the fact that the friend just happens to be his old physio is a bonus in terms of how the time in Gran Canaria is likely to be passed!

It will be an equally interesting end to the close season when Rafa et al get down to the business of organising the real preparations for the new season and everyone is back in Madrid a week on Friday.  That's when we're likely to know what shape the team are in and who's going to be staying or going, and who's turning up on the 10th fully fit and raring to go or otherwise.

All the rumours, all the gossip, all the night-club photos and all the talk of who's going where and who's coming in to replace them will hopefully take on a different meaning in about ten days' time.

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