Chinese Super League’s Hebei China Fortune F.C Fitness Coach, Xavi Candel Martín, most recently caught up with FOX Sports 96.9 FM/1340 AM’s Dean Perretta to informatively reveal more about life in China as the first team Fitness Coach of the popular and uber-affluent Chinese Super League giants, coupled alongside Martín’s in-depth and intriguing thoughts on personally training Hebei China Fortune F.C’s decorated international megastars – Argentina’s Javier Mascherano, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Brazil’s Hernanes and Ivory Coast’s Gervinho, as well as providing unprecedented insight on working very closely with Hebei China Fortune F.C’s brand new Head Coach – former Wales and Sunderland manager, Chris Coleman.
Hebei China Fortune F.C, based in Langfant, Hebei, are universally recognized throughout the 1.4 billion populated China as one of the pre-eminent Chinese Super League super-power clubs, whose current multi-billionaire real estate tycoon developer owners, China Fortune Land Development, bought out the popular Chinese Super League club in a well-documented blockbuster takeover in January 2015.
In 2018, Hebei China Fortune relocated into the 30,040 capacity Langfang Stadium. The Hebei-based Chinese Super League club previously played at home inside the 33,572 capacity Qinhuangdao Olympic Sports Center Stadium (which was utilized for Olympic football during Beijing 2008) from 2015 until 2017. Last season, Hebei China Fortune finished sixth in the Chinese Super League under current West Ham United manager, Manuel Pellegrini.
According to Forbes, Hebei China Fortune are the 7th most valuable football team in China. At present, Hebei China Fortune is currently 11th in the Chinese Super League with 18 points after 14 games; Hebei China Fortune are currently four points away from fifth place Jiangsu Suning.
Perretta: First and foremost Xavi, how has life been for you in China as a Fitness Coach at Hebei China Fortune F.C?
Martín: Life in China during these two seasons has been incredible. Discovering a special country with an ancient culture, with such hospitable people who have helped me with everything I needed. And also, to live in Beijing and get to know the most emblematic places of the city and its traditions is an unrepeatable opportunity I will never forget.
Perretta: What do training sessions usually consist of during training camp at Hebei China Fortune F.C?
Martín: The daily life is very demanding. Working hard and being virtually 24 hours a day thinking and planning workouts for each situation. Group sessions are usually in the morning, but the workday we need many hours of office studying the workloads of each player, scheduling individual tasks and preparing each year meticulously to get the most performance player.
My work as a (fitness) trainer is to give every player the necessary to be in their best form and perform 100% in competition. If in addition to all this, you add the preventive or recovery of the injured (players) with different trips, competitions, and meetings for daily work. There is not much time for a coach in the professional field.
Perretta: Sports science has greatly changed modern day football. What do you feel have been the biggest changes in your opinion?
Martín: The professionalization of football is universal. There are many ways that allow us to quantify and control the workload of each session and thus assess the fitness of the athlete. Physical preparation is increasingly important in football as it is essential for the best individual performance.
As we have seen in the World Cup (Russia 2018), the physical level of equipment is very similar, so any team can stand up to the favorites. That is why physical work should be coupled with a tactical component. Technical and psychological before presented with total equality. Any detail can decide a game or a championship.
Perretta: Javier Mascherano, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Hernanes, and Gervinho are some of the marquee players of Hebai Fortune China F.C. How has your experience been working with these star players during training camp?
Martín: It’s amazing. Top players prepare such a high footballing and human level. For me, it is very important to train the person first before the footballer. For this reason, I think it is essential to create a personal bond between player and coach. I believe in human commitment rather than sport.
Javier Mascherano, captain and most capped player in the history of the Argentina team. It’s very difficult to be at FC Barcelona many years playing at a high level. It is an example on and off the field. And his friend and fellow, Pocho Lavezzi, an excellent person and a great professional.
They are people who come from poor neighborhoods and have worked very hard to get where they are based on effort and daily suffering. Like Gervinho, star and captain of Ivory Coast, with incredible physical condition with innate speed and power, which have helped him excel in teams like Arsenal and AS Roma.
Finally, the Brazilian international Hernanes is a wonderful person, parent and excellent physical care professional. Every day in the gym to be fit and his years do not go for his performance. Let’s not forget that Hernanes was part of Juventus winning several (Serie A) league titles and playing in the Champions League final.
Perretta: Before we leave Xavi, Chris Coleman has recently been appointed as the new manager of Hebei China Fortune F.C. How excited are you to work with the former Wales manager?
Martín: The arrival of Chris (Coleman) has been exciting for the whole club. Manuel Pellegrini’s stage ended prematurely and we got another great coach.
With his (Coleman) coaching staff, we’re all working hard to improve the team and get the most wins possible in the second half of the season. It is a pleasure to share a dressing room and learn every day alongside world-class coaches.
Hebei China Fortune F.C (Official Website) http://www.hebeifootball.com/
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Hebei China Fortune F.C Twitter: HebeiCFFF