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Stock image courtesy of Jannes Glas on Unsplash

Real Madrid Trains at NYU Abu Dhabi

Spanish football giants, Real Madrid C.F, held the first of a number of training sessions at NYU Abu Dhabi’s outdoor football pitch on Dec 17.

Dec 26, 2018

NYU Abu Dhabi served as the home training base for 13 time European champion Real Madrid’s stay in Abu Dhabi – where they partook in the FIFA Club World Cup being held in the city from Dec 12. to Dec 22. The Los Blancos, as they are sometimes referred to, opened their campaign against Japanese team Kashima Antlers on Wednesday, Dec 19. at the Zayed Sports City stadium.
Real flew into Abu Dhabi from their home in the Spanish capital on Dec 16., after having overcome rivals Raye Vallecano 1-0 over the weekend in a La Liga fixture.
Fans who managed to secure tickets to the open training session were delighted to see the club’s superstars out on the pitch, with names like Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos and recent Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric all participating in the training session.
The training session was light, with players still recovering from jet-lag and the physical strain of having played competitively just 48 hours ago. Star player and front-man Gareth Bale was not involved in the regular session, instead performing physical drills separately with coaching staff due to the ankle injury which kept him out of the weekend’s La Liga fixture. Real will be hoping that Bale – who dazzled football fans with the spectacular overhead kick goal that earned Real the Champions League trophy in the final against Liverpool in May – would recover in time to play a part in Wednesday’s match.
Real is among the world’s most popular football teams and are considered to be the most successful club in Europe. They have enjoyed considerable dominance on the pitch recently, with four of the club’s record 13 European Cups having come in the last five years.
However, the club will be looking at the FIFA Club World Cup to kick-start their current season. The departures of legendary manager Zinedine Zidane and five time Ballon d’Or winner and all-time Champions League top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer of 2018 ushered in an era of change that the club have failed to completely adjust to. A string of bad results led to new manager Julen Lopetegui being sacked less than four months into his reign. While the club’s performances have improved under his replacement, former Real player Santiago Solari, they have much to do to overturn the gap with arch rivals F.C Barcelona at the top of the Spanish league standings.
Real are overwhelming favorites to win a record fourth Club World Cup trophy. The competition, which brings together continental champions from all over the world, has been dominated by European teams since its inception in 2000. European teams get a direct berth in the semi-final, and victory on Wednesday will pit the Spanish giants against either River Plate or Al Ain F.C in the final on Saturday, 22 Dec.
Sobha Gadi is Opinion Editor. Email him feedback at
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