Luka Modric kissed the bald head of real Madrid‘s physical trainer, Antonio Pintusin celebration after the comeback against Manchester City.
The midfielder was screaming the coach’s name at him after a memorable comeback that put Los Blancos into the Champions League final.
The Croatian, who at 36 is in the best form of his career, wanted to pay tribute to the man who, together with Carlo Ancelottidrew up real Madrid‘s plan for managing minutes and the fitness of the players.
It has worked a treat so far, crowing them as champions of LaLiga Santander and the Supercopa de Espana, and with a Champions League final still to come.
Pintus arrived at real Madrid as a Galactico. His signing was announced by the club on their official website last summer with an official statement, something that had previously only been done for first-team players or head coaches.
After his separation from Zinedine Zidanethe club opted to bring back the Italian fitness coach, with a clear objective – to avoid the plague of injuries that cursed the team last season, harming their chances in LaLiga Santander and Champions League.
Ancelotti was aware of the need for an upgrade in this area. Hand in hand, the two Italians designed a physical plan that basically includes two peaks of form, at the beginning and, crucially, in the final third of the season.
The point is that now, with the title recently won and a place in the final of the Champions League, the Italians’ work is yielding huge benefits for the players, who have suffered under the harsh methods of the duo, in which continuous running is key.
Supreme physical performance against Manchester City
The data from the match against Manchester Cityas was the case against Paris Saint-Germain and Chelseashows that the team’s physical response in moments of maximum demand was one of the determining factors in the victory over the English side.
It wasn’t the only key, of course, but physicality is adding to the team’s footballing strengths.
Although Pep Guardiola‘s side covered more ground on Wednesday, real Madrid‘s efforts were of a higher quality.
Los Blancos outscored the Citizens in sprints over 21 kilometers per hour and in speeds over 24 kilometers per hour, which is what really makes the difference at the elite level.
In the latter, the number of efforts by Los Blancos was 5.45 percent higher than the visitors.
Taking the sprints as a whole, the differences in real Madrid‘s favor soared, with over 10 percent more for Los Blancos.
The English players ran more at low speed, between 14 and 21 km / h, but real Madrid completed more high-speed runs and sprints.
History repeats itself at Real Madrid
MARCA readers will remember seeing similar reports after the second legs against PSG and Chelsea.
Against the French champions, the comeback began with a sprint by Karim Benzema to put pressure on Gianluigi Donnarummaand the goal that came as a result changed the match and the tie.
Then came Modric‘s lung-bursting sprint to give them the lead, at which point PSG crumbled.
Something similar happened against Chelsea, the most physical opponent for Los Blancos in this Champions League. In fact, Thomas Tuchel‘s side dominated the physicality from the first to last minute, but in extra time real Madrid prevailed.
The same plan was followed as against Citywith a familiar ending for the kings of Europe.