In football, no top manager or player survives the rigour of the whole season without the help of a fitness coach. Behind every elite athlete who succeeds in his or her chosen field, there is a brilliant snarling trainer ticking the boxes.
Fitness coaches challenge players (team) by increasing their performance, as compared to when a player would train on their own.
They also teach new workouts routine, improve their physical condition, and help increase their full performance; improve form, technique, skills, and diet plan to stay healthy throughout the season.
Today on Cheapgoals, we will look at 7 of the best fitness coaches in football.
- Gregory Dupont – (Real Madrid’s Fitness Coach)
Dupont is well known for his hobby of researching training methods everywhere he has been, ‘The Scientist’ as many refers to him, joined Zinedine Zidane’s backroom staff when the former Real Madrid legend lost faith in his former fitness trainer Antonio Pintus, having failed to improve the fitness level of the players.
Dupont was called from the French national team by Zizuo to join Real Madrid, it was a way of recognising his work and influence on Les Blues winning the World Cup despite only joining the French team before the tournament.
The UEFA member for injury prevention is also well known for his obsessing over data around nutrition, preventing injury particularly to those that are caused by fatigue.
Dupont is a very shy person, he likes to remain in the shadows of other to avoid the media, but he can’t shy away from his work as a fitness coach because stating the importance of data in going about his work is very vital.
The former Les Blue trainer was also part of the team that discovered players, who are six times more likely to be injured when they played matches less than 72 hours apart.
Dupont know-how and brilliance came to fore when Real Madrid won the league last season, with players like Benzema, Casemiro, 34-year-old Ramos and others staying fully fit post lockdown sums up why he’s been called McGregor, as the team went on to clinched the title at the expense of Barcelona.
- Oscar Ortega – (Atletico Madrid’s Fitness Coach)
Oscar Ortega ‘El Profe’ is a 62-year-old Uruguayan fitness coach, he’s been very instrumental in all of Los Rojiblancos success since Diego Simeone took over as coach in 2011.
Ortega has been a very loyal servant to El Cholo, dating back to when he was at Racing Club de Avellaneda, in Argentina. Although they’ve met before back in 2004 when Ortega was the fitness coach of Atletico Madrid and Simeone was a player during the reign of Manzano.
Atletico Madrid style of play and rugged nature on and off the ball depict the kind of fitness training they go through in training.
And the man responsible for Los Rojiblancos fitness, playing predominantly without the ball and been able to play or break opponent with fierce energy when the chance arises is no other than El Profe who makes the team last a whole demanding season.
Ortega’s background as a fitness trainer is so extensive, having worked in Mexico, Japan, Colombia, before starting to work in Spain at the turn of the century first with Sevilla and now with Atletico Madrid.
His training session is so dreaded that players often called his summer camping a living hell on earth, which cumulated into the physical strengths of the players and often shows in each of their games.
Under El Profe’s training method, the Atletico players have been able to maintain their fitness, even during the lockdown he monitored them closely in other to return to the pitch fully fit.
In pre-season, the players spent time usually in Segovia where he used to put the players through 14 hour days of running, running and more running with just a few breaks for meals in between, a rigorous routine which shows how much emphasis Simeone and Ortega put in the fitness training of his players.
Even at 62, the Uruguayan trainer is as fit as a fiddle, reason why he doesn’t allow laziness. His players suffer few muscle injuries, as such he lead by example even among his comrades.
- Antonio Pintus – (Inter Milan’s Fitness Coach)
Pintus returns to Italy, where he had already worked with Juventus and Palermo before moving to Real Madrid in 2016. He had also worked at Chelsea, Monaco, West Ham United and Marseille, before eventually returning to Italy with Inter Milan having left Real Madrid in 2018.
The former Real Madrid trainer is considered one of the best fitness coach in football, and his past work with Los Blancos can testify to that.
He joined the Nerazzurri officially having terminated his contract by mutual consent with Real Madrid in 2018, to yet again return to his familiar terrain. Since he joined Conte’s staff he’s been working tirelessly with the players, helping them avoid muscular injury and fatigue.
According to Pintus “For me and Antonio Conte, strength is a very important aspect, I don’t follow trends and I agree with the coach to achieve goals you have to train well”.
This statement is a testament to how much he pays more attention to the well being of the players he manages during the training session.
Pintus was also instrumental in helping Lukaku fitness level and other players in the team. He also makes sure they’re more improved fitness-wise, the player’s weight and body fat levels are also been thoroughly worked on, all thanks to him and the team nutritionist Matteo Pincella.
- Javier Minano – (Valencia’s Fitness Coach)
Minano is a veteran fitness coach, he’s been around for a very long time in football, his three decades experiences make him one of the most skilled trainers in Spanish football likewise Europe.
The veteran trainer is so vast that he has worked with the likes of Vicente Del Bosque for many years, Rafael Benitez, and Toni Grande, amongst others.
The former Armenia national team fitness coach has been away from Spanish football for a while now, having worked with La Furia Rojas the Spanish national team, Racing Santander among other teams before returning in 2019.
Whilst the condition at the Mestalla may not be as interesting like the club used to be, due to their financial constraint, nevertheless that hasn’t discouraged Minano in preparing the team for the rigour of the 2020-21 season.
With him in town, the use of technology and big data to analyse the fitness level of every player should be easy.
- Holger Broich – (Bayern Munich’s Fitness Coach)
Broich is regarded as the secret boss behind the success of the Bavarian giant, he takes care of the fitness of the Bayern stars in close consultation with the head coach Hansi Flick, who has so far been the darling of all Bayern fans since he got the job.
The 45-year-old trainer also holds the title of Scientific Director and Head of Fitness at the club since 2014.
Professor Broich fitness session is so gruelling that some times, the players usually felt like running away from training, his regime has always made them super fit in other to annihilate their opponent on the pitch with their ruthless attacking and pressing style.
Broich is also said to know exactly how the corona outbreak affects the player’s bodies and how to prepare them perfectly fit for games.
A lot of adulation has been showered at Bayern Munich for their intensity in prosecuting matches, all thanks to Broich. Even during the break due to the pandemic, Broich was still very much close to the players in other to stay fit, delivering to their homes bikes used in conducting the now-famous cyber training sessions via video from the club headquarters.
Among the players who were impressed with the kind of plans Prof Broich and his staff used in keeping the players fit during the lockdown was Boateng, which in the end led to the Bavarian giant winning a treble last season.
- Victor Lafuente – (Granada’s Fitness Coach)
Lafuente was appointed as the fitness trainer of Granada in the 2018-19 season as a member of Diego Martinez’s coaching staff, as such his appointment proved instrumental in the club’s promotion to the Spanish topflight.
In terms of financial muscles, the Andalusian side doesn’t come close to some of the Spanish big team. However, since their promotion to the topflight, they’ve been able to restructure the team all thanks to their Chinese owner Jian Lizhang who arrived at the club in 2016.
The Andalusian outfit is currently active in UEFA’s second-tier competition, without much injury recorded, because last season they registered the best injury record in the professional ranks of the Spanish game.
But surprisingly with the appointment of Lafuente, throughout last campaign, they only recorded just five muscular injuries, and that was down to the local muscle vibration treatment which was introduced into the club’s fitness session by Victor Lafuente, a pioneer and visionary fitness expert.
READ ALSO:15 Of Top Most Injury Prone Footballers
- Darren Burgess – (Melbourne FC Fitness Coach)
Following the 2018 injury rampaging Melbourne FC in Australia, former Port Adelaide, Liverpool, and Arsenal fitness guru joined the ‘Demons’ in 2019.
The Demons had endured a torrid year on the injury table, with over 15 players going under the knife after the 2018 season, a very strange occurrence which raised a lot of eyebrows from the club management and fans on how competent the fitness department of the club is.
The Demons swift decision of replacing Misson with Burgess proved to be the right decision in the right direction, as the fitness guru has helped the players to stay fit.
Melbourne FC management decision to appoint was down to his know-how, and his stint in the English premier league that comes with years of experience. It was easy to contact him as the next fitness trainer of the club despite a lot of applications for the post.
Burgess may not currently be with some of Europe’s elite clubs, but the guru his well-revered as one of finest fitness coach in world football.
According to report, since he joined the Demons he’s been able to turn the fortune of the players around in terms of managing their fitness level and conditioning.
- Dani Pastor – (Real Mallorca’s Fitness Coach)
- Sergi Perez – (Osasuna’s Fitness Coach)
- Florian Wangler – (Borussia Dortmund’s Fitness Coach)
2 Potential Manager To Replace Hansi Flick
Hansi Flick awesome reign with the Bavarian giant is gradually winding down, as it’s looking likely that he may not further manage the Die Roten next season.
Bayern Munich’s quest to win the Champions League consecutively came to end on Tuesday night, via the UEFA’s away goal rules having lost the first leg at home to Paris Saint Germain in the quarter-finals despite being the better side at home.
The Bavarian giant will now focus on league duty and they’re no doubt the team in pole position to win the Bundesliga, as the 2020-21 campaign is gradually coasting home with fewer games left to be played. In that regard, there is a great need for Die Roten to start preparing for next season administration and coaching wise.
The friction relationship between Hansi Flick and the Sports Director has broken down to such as extent that the manager has decided to terminate his current contract.
Hansi Flick sent shock waves through German football on Saturday after a 3-2 win over Wolfburg which keeps the Bavarian in pole position to retain the league title. Hansi Flick issued a statement about his decision to exit when the current campaign draws to a close.
“I told the team today that I informed the club during the week, after the game in Paris, I would like to terminate my contract at the end of the season.
“It was important to me that the team learn this from me because there was already a lot of hallway rumours going around.
“We’ve done a great job together for almost two years. I’m absolutely impressed with this team, their quality and their attitude.”
He added: “I also want to thank the club that gave me the chance to manage this incredible team.
“This decision was not easy for me. I’m a fan of this club. Gerd Müller, Paul Breitner, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge all were childhood idols for me.
“I’m eternally grateful to the club for the chance they gave me to become head coach here.”
It’s quite evident that a new manager would be appointed to pave way for a new rebuild of the team especially with the looming departure of David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, and Javi Martinez.
Two potential top managers that could succeed Hansi Flick, should he accept Die Mannschaft managerial position.
- Julien Nagelsmann – (RB Leipzig)
Nagelsmann has been rumoured as a possible replacement to succeed not one but many managers in Europe’s top-flight leagues whose future with their respective clubs are not guaranteed. This time around, the 33-year-old has been rumoured to be one of the possible potential managers to succeed Hansi Flick.
It could be argued that Nagelsmann is the tailor-made manager to take over the reins at the Allianz Arena, and there is no doubt RB Leipzig manager would certainly harbour the dream of managing one of the biggest clubs in Europe.
Nagelsmann is presently focusing on the job at hand with RB Leipzig, plus the fact that he’s still under contract with his employers until the end of the 2022-23 season.
With RB Leipzig and Nagelsmann flying high in the Bundesliga in terms of team performances, with next season European football spot already secured, the club’s Executive Director Oliver Mintzlaff may consider letting him leave to join their rival.
However, it’s left to be seen how things would shape up at the end of the campaign.
READ ALSO: 10 Managers Currently Managing Former Clubs
- Jurgen Klopp – (Liverpool)
The relationship the German tactician has achieved thus far with Liverpool started in 2015 when he joined the Kop from Borussia Dortmund, since then he has achieved quite an incredible success with the Reds winning their first league title after thirty years and a Champions League triumph.
Liverpool were eliminated early in both domestic cup competitions and failed to progress past the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and it’s quite impossible to say that the Kop will defend their title with their current epileptic form in the Premier League especially when it’s looking done and dusted that the cityzen would clinch the title.
Having used close to six years with Liverpool since he joined the Anfield side, this could be the perfect time for the former Borussia Dortmund manager to take up a new challenge. However, despite Liverpool’s unpalatable 2020-21 campaign, the German has often reiterated that he is in no way finished at Liverpool, despite been link to the Bayern Munich and Die Mannschaft managerial position.
Given his incredible success with BVB, it’s quite evident that he would one day go on to manage either Die Roten or Die Mannschaft. Should Bayern secure the service of Klopp, he would certainly be the right and wise choice for the Bavarian giant.
At the end of the campaign, there would be a breath of fresh air in the Bavarian giant camp, with the new CEO Oliver Kahn taking the mantle of leadership from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. In that sense, it’s left to be seen if the incoming leader would sanction the appointment of a new manager or stick with Hansi Flick. Only time would tell.
Erling Haaland: The Story Behind His Striking Rise
Erling Haaland was always going to become the ultimate striker and probably the best number 9 on the planet. Also, there’s every possibility that one day, he may become a Ballon D’or winner. But, there’s still one mystery, how did he become the cyborg that he is today?
Haaland continues to be a goal machine, becoming the quickest player in history to reach 20 Champions League goals. His goal from the spot in the UCL round-16 second leg tie against Sevilla was his 20th goal in just 14 appearances in the competition, which broke Harry Kane’s previous record of 24 games.
“Of course he’s fast, powerful, good around the goal and he’s got real soccer sense. But it’s more of his energy, it’s his infectious personality that I think is like a magnet; it draws people to him, it makes people want to be around him.” Those are the words of Red Bull Salzburg manager, Jesse Marsch.
Grab a handful of popcorn and sit back as we unfold the story behind the rise of this Norwegian beast, goal machine, and keeper’s nightmare, Erling Braut Haaland.
Haaland’s Salzburg Breakthrough
As at when Jesse Marsch was appointed as Salzburg manager, Haaland had been at the club for about six months and had only played one game. And then he went to the U-20 World Cup where he scored nine goals in one game.
From his Salzburg debut, Haaland, who had already impressed at the Norwegian league with Bryne and Molde left observers with no doubt about the quality he possesses.
He would become one of the best strikers on the planet because the talent in him was very obvious. In a chat with oh-my-goal, Jesse Marsch revealed that Haaland’s personality was the first thing he fell in love with about Haaland.
“The first couple of days I worked with him, what impressed me more than anything else was his personality on the pitch. He was just relentless! He worked harder than anyone.”
But beyond his raw talent in Salzburg, Erling Haaland left his mark on the locker room with his personality. He had a smile on his face and got along incredibly well with his teammates. Therefore, it wasn’t just his talent, it was his overall energy.
Erling in person had a really positive influence on his teammates. Erling the player, was a selfish assassin who scored 29 goals in 27 appearances for the Austrian club.
Meanwhile, he also always talked about making his teammates happy. “The best memory I Had of him was when we were getting penalties in just about every game, and he was giving them to all the other attacking players.“
“And then, after a player missed a penalty, I said Ok, Erling has to take the penalties and I told him he would be taking the penalties”
“It’s incredible to have such a talented player who loves to score goals, be the one that is giving the penalty responsibilities to the others because he wants them to feel the power of success, the power of scoring goals, and the power of confidence. That says a lot to me about the character of Erling.” Marsch revealed.
At 19, when most people think about personal glory, Haaland was already a perfect teammate and a future leader which was unprecedented for a player as good as he was and in his age range.
Without a doubt, Haaland’s personality was great enthusiastic and it did really have a big effect on a lot of people at Salzburg.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Influence
Erling Haaland may owe his incredible rise to his immense talent and his positive leadership qualities. But that’s not all, Cristiano Ronaldo also played a huge role in Haaland’s evolution.
People often say that Erling Haaland is the next Cristiano Ronaldo but is the CR7 comparison justified?
Certainly, Erling is more of a pure striker than Cristiano but from a power football perspective, his ability in the transition to affect games like the Portuguese ace makes the comparison justifiable.
Haaland himself admitted that Cristiano Ronaldo was his role model but if like Cristiano, Erling broke all the goalscoring records, it’s not really the part of football that CR7 has influenced.
Haaland is following in Cristiano Ronaldo’s footsteps in terms of leadership and he even is now a role model to many players just like Ronaldo was to him.
Cristiano Ronaldo has had positive effects on his teammates and in every team, he’s played in which really helped him overtime right from his days at Manchester United and Real Madrid. But for Erling, one could really see that right from his young age that it’s a natural quality he has.
It will be up to Haaland to continue to modify that aspect of himself and mold that in a way that he can become a really strong leader within his teams as he continues to grow older.
Above all, Haaland took inspiration from Cristiano Ronaldo in one essential area, work ethic. Like CR7, he’s always hungry to improve. “He really worked hard a lot. After training, he would stick around to finish, to hit some crosses, to work on his heading.” – Jesse Marsch, RB Salzburg Coach.
Like CR7, Erling Haaland thinks every little detail counts. He would wear special glasses because he felt like when you look at your computer all day long or your cell phone, that your eyes would start to fade and so he had that special glasses he always wears.
And while he has his own personality, Erling is directly inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo especially when it comes to nutrition and work ethic by picking the most hardworking professional football player in history as his role model.
Perfect With BVB
Borussia Dortmund activated his €20 million (£17m/$22m) release clause, beating United and Leipzig to his signature after all three clubs held meetings with the player, his father, and agent Mino Raiola.
Borussia Dortmund already had forward Paco Alcacer on the books, but saw Haaland as such a generational talent, that they were willing to offload the Spain international to give the Norwegian teen an even better chance of success.
CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke says that they had been looking for someone with Haaland’s particular skill set for a long time and could not pass up the opportunity to sign him.
“We always wanted to have a center-forward who has a different way of playing football,” Watzke told Goal and DAZN. “But this guy also had to come onto the market first.
There are not many who are 1.94 meters (6 ft 4 in) tall and that fast. Actually, nobody else comes to mind. It was just an opportunity that you don’t get very often. – Goal.com
Dortmund offered the striker the best chance of regular game time as they promised to make him their first-choice striker, something Alf-Inge Haaland admits is crucial to his development.
Haaland’s Dortmund story got off to the perfect start with the most incredible debut against Augsburg. Trailing 3-1, Lucien Favre sent on the teenager from the bench and was rewarded with a 22-minute hat-trick to help secure a 5-3 win.
Having revealed all the secrets that make Haaland an outstanding striker, in all honesty, the Norwegian striker has no limit because he keeps getting better at Dortmund.
He was incredible at Salzburg. “We were obviously so sad to lose him so quickly because we had a lot of fun and success with him, but we’re also very proud of him and we’re really excited to see him continue to push himself and move forward and show everybody in the world how good he is.”
And today, he’s showing just how good he is in Germany. He used to only be seen as a superpowered and superfast goalscorer. But at Dortmund? He’s also shown his technical advances and his in-game intelligence and influence.
He’s more and more capable of keeping the ball, playing in different positions, taking part in the game, in short, he’s become the ultimate striker.
Giving his unique skill-set and amazing personality, he will definitely sign for a bigger club in years to come. Yes, he may experience some difficulties, but his quality will help him manage whatever challenge that comes his way and in-turn become the best number 9 of not only his generation but in football history.