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Training and autographs

Busy schedule for FCB stars in New York

They don’t call it ‘the city that never sleeps’ for nothing: the Big Apple really is a place where the hustle, bustle, wail of sirens and urban soundtrack continue 24/7. It’s hard to imagine the metropolis of eight million on the eastern seaboard of the USA ever coming to a standstill, and the FC Bayern touring party have barely stopped to catch breath either on the Audi Summer Tour USA 2014. The German double winners’ schedule for their three days in New York City was a perfect match with the local rhythm.

Apart from training sessions and the 1-0 friendly victory over Mexican cracks Chivas de Guadalajara, the pros have kept a number of sponsor and media appointments. Coach Pep Guardiola and his men were permanently on the move on Friday, with a workout at the Montclair University sports facility taking up the morning. It was a gruelling affair in high temperatures and humidity, made doubly demanding in the wake of the high-energy meeting with Chivas the previous evening.

After lunch at the team hotel, Franck Ribéry & Co took up an invitation from Audi for an hour’s trip by boat on the Hudson River, passing the Statue of Liberty and the Financial District with the newly-constructed Freedom Tower, en route to Chelsea Pier on Manhattan’s West Side. The stars then dispersed to keep four separate appointments in the afternoon.

On behalf of tour promoter Audi, Ribéry visited Gleason‘s Gym in Brooklyn, the boxing academy whose famous old boys include Muhammed Ali. David Alaba, Javi Martínez and Julian Green took in the lights of Broadway at an autograph-signing session at the adidas store. Holger Badstuber and Xherdan Shaqiri were also busily signing their names at the New York Paulaner Brauhaus.

The fans also flocked to the T-Mobile Store, where Claudio Pizarro and star signing Robert Lewandowski handed out autographs to the eager crowds. The first Bayern fans had already begun gathering in front of the store in the morning so as to be first in line for an autograph and picture with their heroes. In the evening, the top players, the rest of the squad and the coaching staff attended a group event.

The men from Munich have very little time to relax and switch off, as the group are on the move again on Saturday morning for the transfer to Newark/New Jersey airport and the six-hour flight to Portland. Perhaps one or two of the players will be able to catch some much-needed sleep on the plane, and maybe dream of the city that never sleeps.