REAL MADRID

Zidane prepares intense fitness plan to avoid repeat of New Year dip under Ancelotti

During a hectic Christmas 2014 when Real Madrid followed the World Club Cup with a friendly in Dubai, Ancelotti's side then went through a fatal drop in form. Zidane wants to make sure it doesn't happen again. Juventus-Real Madrid live

El Real Madrid no jugará ningún amistoso navideño. Pintus espera a al vuelta de vacaciones.
Jesús Rubio / Diario AS

The Real Madrid squad will undergo intensive fitness training following their eight-day winter break in a bid to avoid a repeat of the side’s post-Christmas blues back in 2014.

Zidane keen to avoid New Year dip 

Following Madrid’s World Club Cup triumph in Morocco under Carlo Ancelotti two years ago, the team suffered a significant dip in form which caused them to lose ground in the LaLiga title race and ultimately led to Carlo Ancelotti’s dismissal.

Back then Zinedine Zidane was RM Castilla coach but witnessed the team’s nosedive at close quarters. However, during his first winter break as Real Madrid first team coach, Zidane is determined not to let the same thing happen again, and is busy preparing a training plan with strength and conditioning coach Anontio Pintus to ensure that his players’ tip-top fitness levels are maintained following the week-long lay off.

Zidane is keen to avoid a repeat of New Year 2015

Fatigue caused fatal bad patch 

In 2014, Real Madrid went into Christmas on a run of 22 consecutive wins before making a 15-hour round flight to Dubai for a friendly against AC Milan on 30 December (which they lost 4-2). The tiring trip proved very costly. Three days later Los Blancos fell to Valencia at the Mestalla (1-2), were knocked out by Atletico Madrid in the cup later in January, and went on a very poor run to the point of falling away from Barcelona in the league. Many later blamed the accumulation of fatigue caused by of a lack of rest during the LaLiga break for Madrid's fatal bad patch.

Needless to say, there’ll be no needless friendly this Christmas. Madrid will return to training on 27 December after recharging their batteries, giving them a full a week of training to refine their fitness before the Copa del Rey Round of 16 1st Leg on 4 January.