When the pots for the Champions League group stage draw paired Real Madrid and Inter, the articles and tweets were shared between Achraf's return to Valdebebas and Antonio Conte's meeting with Sergio Ramos, who froze the arrival of the Italian to the Madrid bench with that “respect is earned, not imposed”, pronounced in the mixed zone of the Camp Nou after falling 5-1 and with Lopetegui sentenced. But this Tuesday, another old acquaintance is reunited with the whites. Antonio Pintus (58 years old), former physical trainer of Madrid and a key piece in Zidane's first glorious stage, returns to what was his 'barracks' for three seasons.

Zizou was the main responsible in 2016 for the signing of Sergeant, as it was known in Valdebebas, and it was also known from his departure. The two met when the man from Marseille played for Juventus (1996-2001), where Pintus worked as an assistant to the physical trainer, and very soon they connected. That personal chemistry, Zidane's confidence in his methods and the permission Lyon gave the Italian to break his contract (the preseason had already started, but the good relations between Florentino Pérez and his counterpart Aulas made the deal possible) opened the way for him. gates of Real Madrid in 2016. However, the relationship cracked in 2018. A wound opened between them when Zidane resigned in May of that year and Pintus decided to stay in Madrid. He did not accompany him on his way as David Bettoni (second coach) and Hamidou Msaidie (physical trainer and assistant) did, whose relationship with his partner also deteriorated. So that, When Zidane returned to Real Madrid, Pintus began to seek his destiny and appeared to tie him up with Antonio Conte, with whom he also coincided at Juventus.

He won over the locker room with his methods

With a reputation as an iron fist and a lover of running (he usually runs about 20 kilometers a day), Pintus knew how to win over the players with his closeness, his advice (he recommended different training sessions, diets …) and his results in the physical background of the locker room. The arrival of Lopetegui to Chamartín took away his prominence in the group (he landed with his own coach, Óscar Caro). That the players preferred Pintus' method was publicly reflected by Marcelo with his goal against Viktoria in that 2018-19 Champions League. He ran to the band to hug him right in front of Lopetegui. The dismissal of the Basque was taken advantage of by the squad to ask his substitute, Solari, to return to give the physical stripes to the Sergeant, who returned to being the lead actor during the final stretch of the season. But Zidane's return triggered his departure. The coach did not forget that kind of ‘disloyalty’ that led him to stay at Madrid when he left. And in the hole where the Pintus chrome was, Zizou placed Grégory Dupont (48 years old), that landed with the endorsement of the World Cup won with France and although at first it was highly questioned by the plague of muscular injuries that devastated the team, it ended up becoming a basic factor in the stoppage due to the pandemic, reactivating the team and encouraging it to conquer LaLiga . This Tuesday, a year and a half after officially breaking their ties, Zidane will meet again in Valdebebas with the one who was his guru in physical preparation …