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Day off on Friday

Rest, relaxation and a desert safari

The famous souk, the Museum of Islamic Art, the corniche with views of the impressive skyline, a choice of shopping malls... Doha has plenty to offer if you find yourself with a day off, as the stars did on Friday. However, Lahm, Ribéry and company were not feeling especially active. Regeneration and relaxation were the order of the day for almost the entire squad.

“I’ve watched a film in peace and quiet, and I’ll be going for a massage later,” Toni Kroos informed at lunchtime. After seven training sessions and a friendly match the main priority at the moment is to recharge spent batteries, “because the next few days will be just as demanding.” Toni would gladly have gone and soaked up a few rays, he confessed, “but the sun hasn’t come out yet.” The weather in the Emirate was indeed pleasant enough but the skies were hazy.

As a result, plenty of the players stuck to the hotel. “I’m relaxing and looking after my body,” said Daniel van Buyten. Jérôme Boateng reported a similar picture: “Some are at their Playstations, others are playing poker or just relaxing.“ And what of the big defender himself? “I’m getting plenty of sleep.”

Nevertheless some of the FCB party did get out and about. Pep Guardiola was collected by Raul at lunchtime. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Lukas Raeder, Dr. Peter Ueblacker and Dr. Roland Schmidt set off on a half-day desert safari. Experienced drivers took the youngsters and the members of the medical unit for a rollercoaster ride through the sand dunes, giving all members of the group a good shaking up. Afterwards, the itinerary included a snack at an encampment on the coast and the chance to try out the exotic sport of duneboarding. By the early afternoon the foursome were back at the team hotel where they too put their feet up.

Four members of the squad elected to train on their day off. Arjen Robben, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thiago and Holger Badstuber spent the morning working out in the gym and weights room. For the whole of the squad it is back to business as usual on Saturday with two team training sessions on the schedule.