Normality – or something that feels a little bit like it – has returned to the footballing shores of Madrid after Real’s players completed a second day at the club’s training complex.
For well over a month, Spain – one of the worst affected countries in Europe – has been on widespread lockdown in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus. Over 200,000 cases have been officially confirmed, while the country’s death toll stands at more than 26,000.
A corner does appear to have been turned, though, with restrictions of movement slowly beginning to be lifted across the country.
That’s led to hope, among the footballing fraternity at least, that domestic action can be completed this season, rather than the campaign being null and voided. La Liga president Javier Tebas has already outlined plans to resume play on 12 June, while clubs are now free to resume training.
And that’s exactly what Real Madrid have done, with appropriate social distancing measures very much still in place.
A number of first- team stars – including captain Sergio Ramos, Marcelo and Luka Modric – were pictured and filmed completing individual ball work on Tuesday, while goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was also put through his paces in a series of different drills.
Gareth Bale was another to take part in action, although we all know that he’d probably prefer to be in Wales or on the golf course.
To adhere to required safety protocols, the players were divided into two different groups, spread out across the club’s vast training facility. Posts on the club’s social media accounts also showed Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane overseeing the action while wearing a protective face mask – a precautionary measure used by a number of players as they drove into training.
As of now, it’s unclear whether Tebas’ vision of a return in one month’s time is sustainable. But the imminent return of the Bundesliga – as well as the return to training of many Serie A clubs and the ongoing talks about the Premier League resuming – does at least offer a picture of hope for those desperate to see live football again.