Following routine protocol during
a full week of training, today's second to last session prior to
matchday was an open workout. After grueling work on Wednesday and
Thursday, Capello gave his men a breather on Friday, with sit ups and a
conditioning course a must for every player. Open training and shots on
goal followed. The new face on the pitch was that of Marcelo, the latest
Real Madrid signing.
There is only one day left for Real
Madrid to get ready for Sunday's important showdown against Athletic
Bilbao. The Whites can tally their fourth staight League win with a
victory over a hungry team with a new coach. Mané can't ask for a better
debut with an upset on the road, but the Madridistas continue growing as
a team and want to get the Bernabéu believing in them again.
It has been a week of intense training sessions for the squad. The two
days off the players had following their win against Valencia at
Mestalla gave way to a week of strenuous physical conditioning. As has
become normal during weeks without Champions League or King's Cup
matches, Capello decided to make the second to last session an open
workout in order to give his men a breather.
All players were required to spend the first half an hour doing sit ups
in the warmup room. The same amount of time was spent on a conditioning
course layed out on the turf by Massimo Neri. Four groups took turns
completing power and speed drills using hurdles, slalom poles, and hoops
as a very attentive Capello looked on. The Real Madrid coach had a new
face in training today as Marcelo worked with the first team for the
first time. The Italian manager never let the Brazilian out of his sight.
After completing the first phase of training with his teammates, Marcelo
stepped onto the turf with Sergio Ramos and greeted the waiting press.
He was also seen talking to Van Nistelrooy, although he found himself
surrounded by his Brazilian counterparts for most of the morning.
Marcelo completed the fitness course with the Dutch striker, Míchel
Salgado, Raúl Bravo and Ronaldo, and put on a great show of speed.
Once everyone had completed the course, the players began their open
workout, which focused on target practise. Beckham positioned himself on
the right wing and Roberto Carlos and his successor took the left side.
The three crossed balls into the box for the attackers, who put Casillas
and Kiko Casilla to the test with a barrage of shots. After ten minutes
of centering passes, everyone tried their luck from the front of the box.
No rest for Casillas
Real Madrid's starting goalkeeper had a very demanding day. Franco
Tancredi didn't cut Casillas, Diego López, or Kiko Casilla any slack.
While their teammates completed the conditioning course, the three
practised clearing balls and their jumping save ability with the help of
five dummy players, but the worst was yet to come. They first took on
the forwards who were receiving crosses from the flanks and then were
forced to save shots coming striaght at them.
The injured continue recovering
Sergio Ramos, who was suffering from a sprained ankle, took to the
turf and trained with his teammates. The defender missed Thursday's
session, but he has recovered and is available to play against Athletic
Bilbao. Guti, Cannavaro and Pavón, on the other hand, are questionable.
The youth team defender was the last to be placed on the medical report
with muscle spasms, while Guti and Cannavaro continue their work in the
gym. Iván Helguera is doubtful for Sunday. The centre back was a
gametime decision against Valencia after not recovering from a deep
right quadriceps bruise and he wasn't seen outside at Valdebebas all
week. Capello will decide on Saturday whether or not to include Helguera
on the squad list.
NEXT TRAINING SESSION:
Saturday 2 December @ 11:00 am CET. Behind closed doors at Real Madrid