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food, kinesiology and medicine, all at the service of La Scaloneta

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The daily routine begins with pure mate but has planning and professionals who work in silence in search of the best for Messi and company.

When in the Argentina barely a couple of hours after midnight, more than 13,000 kilometers away, on the edge of the Arabian peninsula, the mate of Lionel Messi receives the first barley of the day. Here, in Qatar, it’s eight in the morning and the captain of the Selection He leaves his room (he has been sleeping alone since Sergio Agüero, his roommate in every albiceleste adventure, retired) to meet Rodrigo DePaul y Alejandro Gomez. They start each day with this unalterable ritual.

They are the first to share the round of bitter. Then the others are added. And breakfast is being assembled. The sequence is repeated at every sunrise inside the bunker of the national team, where everything is schematized and coordinated. The argent habit of the captain and his companions serves as an excuse to describe just the beginning of each day in which the light blue and white delegation prepares for the World Cup that is about to start. But it’s not just physically. There is an invisible, meticulously controlled training that intertwines nutrition, kinesiology and medical check-ups..

Although before and during each important, extensive and intense event such as a World Cup or an America’s Cup there is a more rigorous set-up, Qatar 2022 requires different attention because it is about a different World Cup, due to its climate and the time of year (it falls in the middle of the European season). The calendar was compressed to the limit and this produced consequences.

Each area is signposted in the concentration of the Argentine National Team in Qatar. Photo: AFA

The increase in injuries prior to this competition put more than one heavy name in soccer on the planet in check. The last of them none other than the 2022 Ballon d’Or winner, Karim Benzema. In the Selection they took note of this because the way in which each player arrives at their respective selection due to the bustle of matches this semester, obliges a special individualized follow-up.

Medical care, with the doctor Daniel Martinez In the lead, kinesic and nutritional are part of the daily strategy implemented by the professionals in charge of these areas who work jointly. The historical Luis Garcia he coordinates the team of kinesiologists in Argentina and is a vital arm for the recovery of the players match by match, as happened in the last Copa América, which was won in Brazil.

But a very special emphasis is also placed on the nutrition of the entire campus. What, how and when do the footballers of the National Team eat? All this is diagrammed by Luciano Spenathe nutritionist with extensive experience who was incorporated in recent years and who joined the work of the team of cooks: Diego Iacovone y Antonia Farias.

The medical and kinesiological department is linked to the nutrition of the campus to form the invisible training behind the merely soccer.  (Photo: AFA)

The medical and kinesiological department is linked to the nutrition of the campus to form the invisible training behind the merely soccer. (Photo: AFA)

The monitoring of what the Argentine team eats is squishy. They brought local foods of all kinds to Qatar, a bit also to make the stay in a country that has a very different culinary culture more bearable. That’s why they got on the plane more than a thousand kilos of meat in its various lean cuts, among other things, such as yerba and the caramel sauce. Meals are planned based on the needs of the competition.

How do you plan a day in the Scaloneta bunker? Between 8 and 8.30 you have breakfast. At 10 there is an activation and movements in the gym, followed by kinesiology work for those who need it. Lunch is served at 1:00 p.m. The players all eat at the same table.. At 2:30 p.m. the siesta time arrives until 4:30 p.m., when it is time for snack.

At 18 is the daily formal practice. After the showers, dinner is eaten at 9:00 p.m. After-meal is part of the moment of relax that joins the free time after the last meal of the day and the time to go into the rooms to sleep.

It all has to do with a comprehensive effort between doctors, kinesiologists and food managers. It all has to do with the other training, the invisible, which is at the same level of technical and tactical preparation.

From Doha, Qatar. Special envoys.

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