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Surprisingly enough, the international weeks do have some benefits for Real Madrid

At least Zinedine Zidane can concentrate on getting the injured players working towards full fitness


We seem to spend most of our time on this website complaining about the international break and how it disrupts planning at club level; but for once Zinedine Zidane will have taken a more positive outlook from Real Madrid’s training base in Valdebebas.

In addition to not having had anyone actually going away injured this time around for ‘assessment’ by their respective national teams’ medics, several players are set to benefit from the intense 10 days or so that accompanied this so-called break.

In reality, calling this an international ‘break’ is probably the least accurate descriptor ever. Anyone not going away on international duty can normally expect to put in some hard training sessions without the bonus of a game at the end of the week.

Equally, if you are injured, then it’s only the number of players around the training complex that varies. But it certainly makes for a better atmosphere if there’s more people around than usual at this time of year.

For Zidane and the rest of the coaches though. this particular break from the league campaign has been utilised both in terms of recovery for those carrying injuries and from a fitness aspect for those close to returning to the team such as Marcelo for example.

For the longer-term injured, in Marco Asensio’s case not much will have changed. At this point he’s now well into the active part of his rehab and to be honest he’s not really going to be too bothered about who else is around.

His main focus is still on getting back to a level of fitness that will allow him to join in appropriate activities with the other squad members as opposed to primarily working alone in the rehab gym and the pool.

For Nacho it’s different. Although he’s going to be out for another month or so (as a rough estimate), his rehab pathway is obviously much shorter than Marco’s and for Nacho at least there are things that he will be able to do alongside the others that makes returning to fitness less of a daily grind.

We tend to focus on the high number of muscle injuries at the club yet neither of the two injuries that have deprived Zidane of important players such as Nacho and Marco Asensio this season are muscular in origin! Both players have injuries are ligamentous in nature.

Talking of muscle injuries though, Toni Kroos’ adductor injury falls into the same category as Nacho’s knee sprain; long enough to keep him out of any serious training in the meantime but still not too far off making a return to a decent level of activity on the training field. oni, t

For Toni, this will initially focus on direct running since anything that veers from the straight will be likely to stress the adductor / groin region at this stage.

One of the reasons why footballers suffer so much from injuries of this type is the fact that the adductor muscles originate from a specific point on the pelvis. When taken in context with the size and strength of the muscles of the thigh in general, you find that there is a lot of force being generated through a very small area which makes that area vulnerable.

When twisting and turning, an obvious and essential part of the game, these forces increase dramatically and that’s why you find such a high frequency of adductor / groin injuries in sports like football which involve repeated movements performed at a high intensity.

No injury round up would be complete of course without mentioning the usual hamstring strains! After getting over his spinal problems. Marcelo has been struggling with an injury to the biceps femoris muscle; which is one of the most frequently injured of the three hamstring muscles and also one with a high rate of recurrence in football.

Add repeated sprints and acceleration / deceleration to the mix and in conjunction with the adductor / groin strains you then have a high potential for injury. On that basis, it’s no wonder that Real Madrid, as do most other clubs, suffer with so many muscular injuries.

Zinedine Zidane, in an attempt to condition the players against receiving muscular injuries, has always been in favour of a high intensity approach to training from a preventative aspect.

Without a game this past weekend, he’ll have been able to get the players who weren’t on international duty working to maximal intensity with the fitness team safe in the knowledge that there’s no game until Real visit Mallorca on Saturday.

But as usual it’s the injuries that are impossible to legislate for that upset the best-laid plans. In Cardiff last night, Luka Modrić took a heavy blow to the right thigh and was initially unable to put his weight through the leg as a result.

Incidents like that are impossible to legislate for and until that stage all had being going relatively well from an injury aspect.

Gareth Bale also received treatment at one point on his left calf; and naturally his reactionto this will be assessed over the next few days as well as Luka’s.

As the players begin to drift back into Madrid this week from the other international venues, we start to look forward to the three away trips that lie ahead: Mallorca, Galatasaray and of course Barça.

No doubt the medical team will have that in mind when they do their injury assessments over the next 48 hours!

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