After the typical post match training session on Sunday morning, Atlético’s players were not released to a quiet day off to enjoy with family and friends.
No, instead of taking advantage of having a full week without European competition or national team World Cup qualifying duties to recover sore muscles and train, the players and coaching staff were put on a plane by the higher-ups for a five-hour flight to Azerbaijan.
When the shirt deal with Azerbaijan was announced, it was published in the statement that, as part of the deal, the Rojiblancos would visit the “Land of Fire” for a friendly. There is nothing wrong with including something like that as part of the deal, but why do we have to play that friendly during the ongoing season?
Wouldn’t it be better to use the summer break and the preparation time before the new season starts for that visit? Or maybe directly after the last match of the season, like we did last season with the trip to Colombia?
I understand that we need to use the few possibilities we have to gain publicity for the club and to “explore new markets,” but do we have to do that in the middle of the season?
It’s really rare that a club makes a trip like that for a friendly with league games still left to play, and I have to say I’m completely opposed to these trips. Schedule them before or after the season, but not while it’s still ongoing and in its final (and decisive) phase!
Thank God no one got injured in that match. Imagine, for example, Falcao picking up an injury and missing the cup final because of a stupid friendly against the Azerbaijan all-star team, which was no real opponent at all.
Additionally, I believe that it is also a disadvantage for our players not being at home. As a professional football player you get used to life on the road, sleeping in hotel beds instead of your own (although I believe the hotel beds they sleep in are more comfy than the average person’s at home), but don’t I think you never really get used to it.
You want to pass your time between training sessions playing with your child instead of visiting with the president of Azerbaijan. Being at home is relaxing; no matter how unstressful they try to make that trip, for the players, it will always be stressful. And they’re not just flying over, training once and flying back, like they did for European competition. They also had a large itinerary of things to do and people to see.
Filipe posted a picture of the last row of the Atleti bus asleep on a drive to the next stop of their visit. Seeing the players like that shows that it wasn’t just a “fun trip” for them, but more like one of those sightseeing city tours after which you just want to fall into your bed.
To top it off, they arrived back in Madrid yesterday morning at 6 A.M. and had to be back at the training facility 12 hours later. For me personally, that would never work, and I would surely not be able to do my best after a night like that.
In general, it seems as if to be a professional football player, you have to gain the ability to fall asleep anytime, anywhere, invoking the adage “the soldier that does not have a task, is resting”. But isn’t this pushing it a little more than necessary?
The “resting” of the players on that trip is not comparable to the rest they would have gotten at home. The fact that Atleti will travel to A Coruña on the day of the match and not, as usual, on the night before to make up for the trip shows just how much rest the players need.
Yes, it was part of the deal with Azerbaijan but in my opinion it was unnecessary. Fatigue might be a disadvantage for us. I can think of a thousand better ways they could have spent their day.
Just think about the 12 wasted hours to fly to and back from Azerbaijan, and what “Profe” Ortega could have done with the guys on the training ground in that time!