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13.02.2008 13:43

Work and lunch in El Montanyà

Berta Brau / Vanessa Forns

Nearly the entire FC Barcelona first team squad trained under the watchful eye of coach Frank Rijkaard at El Montanyà in Osona as a large crowd of fans looked on.

The setting chosen by the Dutch coach to hold training on Wednesday was a novelty for the players and everyone seemed to enjoy the change of scenery. The coaching staff and the squad all worked very hard before being able to settle down for lunch at the picturesque venue outside of the city.

It is not the first time that the team has trained in a different place, although this was the first time that Rijkaard had chosen to go to the same place that is often used as the base for football training camps during the summer by Barça's youth and junior teams.

Two groups

montanya8.jpgThe squad arrived at Seva at around 11am and, after changing, the session properly started 50 minutes later. The only players missing were the injured duo of Oleguer Presas and Albert Jorquera and Samuel Eto'o, who has yet to return from the Africa Cup of Nations. The group was divided into two, with ne half containing Gianluca Zambrotta and Sylvinho who have knocks as well as Lilian Thuram, Thierry Henry, Lionel Messi and Éric Abidal who also reported that they have slight strains after the Sevilla game.

In the smallest group, the players worked with the first team physical coaches and based their training on physique and strength work. Those that did this were able to leave the session before the rest of the players.

Deco, Ezquerro and Puyol

Santi Ezquerro and Carles Puyol trained almost completely normally despite the former suffering a slight groin strain and the latter picking up a muscle tear in the game against Villarreal. Also Deco joined in despite him not being able to play against Sevilla at the weekend because of pain in his left ankle.

Physical training

montanya4.jpgThe larger group of players warmed up before being put through a physical circuit with the ball. Then they practised their positional sense with emphasis being placed on pressure and recovery, an exercise that was subsequently combined with another circuit that was used to help increase speed.

Final practice game

In the last section of the session, 14 players split into two teams for a small-sided game. Wearing orange were Ronaldinho, Giovani, Iniesta, Deco, Edmílson, Gaby Milito and Víctor Valdés, while in blue were Rafa Márquez, Touré Yaya, Eidur Gudjohnsen, Ezquerro, Bojan and Xavi.
Work and lunch in El Montanyà

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Great expectations
The presence of the Barça first team in El Montanyà saw the locals come out in force to watch the team train as loads of fans join the media to watch Frank Rijkaard put his players through their paces first hand.

Photographs and autographs were given as the supporters made their way to the ground and waited patiently to meet their heroes.

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