The injury news is a lot more positive for Real Madrid than it was this time a fortnight ago. With both Gareth Bale and Dani Carvajal now reported to be back in full training, neither have appeared to have suffered any adverse reactions so far; at least none that we are aware of.
Of course, although it’s all about keeping things under wraps at the moment, there’s been nothing to suggest that either of the returning stars has had any problems in the last week or so.
If anything, it’s been exactly the opposite. Both Gareth and Dani have featured prominently in most of the videos from training that have been released as preparation increases and the day of the Champions League Final approaches.
Both players have been relatively quiet during their recent absence from the team; but are now back and into the full swing of things. Dani’s hamstring injury appears to have recovered and all that remains is for him to gear himself up towards the weekend. The fact that he’s been unable to play a proper competitive game in the days before the final will just have to be worked around on this occasion.
No doubt there will be a full scale practice match arranged in the days leading up to the final in Cardiff; either behind closed doors or otherwise, and under the present circumstances this might turn out to be the best move. At least if the opposition consists of Real’s own players then the likelihood of anyone picking up another injury before the weekend will be drastically reduced.
We’ve not heard too much about Dani or the intricacies of his rehabilitation. That’s typical of him and he seems to prefer to be left alone to get on with things. Once again he’s been out of the team for a while and once again it’s looking as though he has made another good return based on the videos we’ve seen and from the reports coming out of Valdebebas.
Gareth too has been making progress. There was an image a couple of weeks ago showing him training whilst wearing an altitude mask; a training aid that basically makes your body systems work harder by reducing the amount of oxygen available to the body. Based on the idea of training at altitude, wearing the mask is said to condition the body to utilise the amount of oxygen that actually is available in the most efficient manner.
The mask is designed to be used in training with fully fit players but is also reported to help in the later stages of injury when the emphasis is placed on higher-intensity training. Working on the principle that the body will adapt to the reduced airflow caused by wearing the mask. This in turn is said to make the respiratory muscles stronger as a result and also to ensure that the body will use the reduced amount of oxygen available to build more stamina and therefore lead to training adaptations.
The whole topic of athletes training with altitude masks has been debated at length in various journals and publications; and for anyone with a deeper interest, further information is readily available through the usual search engines. Gareth has obviously bought into the concept, as have several other high-profile athletes and professional clubs and it would be good to see the results of their training regimes and be able to compare how these relate to more traditional methods.
Gareth Bale is quite open with some of his training methods and we’ve already seen him working at his rehab after previous injuries. Such is the interest in players like Gareth and Dani, particularly in a week like this with a Champions League Final coming up, news of any progress or otherwise while they’re on the way back to regaining full fitness is high on the agenda. Depending on the up and coming fixtures this can be either a good or a bad thing.
So not surprisingly, it’s all positive at the moment. Since this actually seems to be one of the few occasions where Zinedine Zidane has the luxury of having a full squad to choose from; such good news couldn’t have come at a better time.