It was a free day for the Red Devils this Wednesday: “Going to party? That’s for journalists, more for us”

It was a free day for the Red Devils this Wednesday: “Going to party? That’s for journalists, more for us”
It was a free day for the Red Devils this Wednesday: “Going to party? That’s for journalists, more for us”

A week after their arrival in Ludwigsburg and two days after the defeat against Slovakia, the Devils were able to enjoy a first day off on Wednesday. No training and authorization to leave the hotel, on the condition of being returned by 11:30 p.m. at the latest. “This day off was planned, it is not a consequence of the result of our first matchspecifies Jelle Schelstraete, director of football operations at the federation. At the club, players also have time off. It’s good for everyone.”


The only thing we hope is that they will stay within the norms during their day of freedom.

With his long experience, technical director Frankie Vercauteren believes that it was the right timing. “On D + 2 of a match, we don’t do much in training. It allows them to recharge their batteries.”

Amadou Onana and Arthur Theate ready to choose their menu in the dining room. ©RBFA

In 1986 in Mexico, where the Devils lost their first match before achieving a legendary run, the players also received days off. And they took the opportunity to leave the hotel as quickly as possible and go party in town. “Journalists too. You can still do it, we can’t (laughs). The only thing we hope is that they will stay within the standards.”

Lukebakio must go under the billiards table on his stomach

In any case, it was without their wives, who came on Tuesday for family day but had to leave a few hours later.

The Schlosshotel Monrepos in Ludwigsburg was therefore much quieter this Wednesday, even if some players remained in the area, in particular to play golf. The establishment is much smaller than the immense establishment where the Devils stayed in Qatar for the World Cup but they found what they were looking for there.

Between the images broadcast by the federation via its social networks and the Snapchat account of the entertainer Amadou Onana, we were able to discover the intimacy of the players during this Euro. Several common areas have been organized for relaxation, including a room where the Devils can follow the competition together on TV.

The TV room where the Devils can follow the Euro. ©RBFA

A little further on is the games room. With a touchscreen tablet embedded in a table which offers a range of digital board games. Power 4 is back in fashion for this Euro. There is also a billiards table where Youri Tielemans shines. It also serves as a “place of punishment” after a defeat in one of the activities. Dodi Lukebakio notably had to go under the billiards table on his stomach.

“Fifty” Mangala, in reference to the scars of rapper 50 Cent

Dodi Lukebakio and Yannick Carrasco compete in Puissance 4 on a giant touchscreen tablet. ©RBFA

Also in this room, two Playstations have been installed for the Fifa clashes. Sometimes very heated duels: Jérémy Doku, with Vincent Kompany’s Bayern Munich, thought he would beat Romelu Lukaku by leading 3-0 at the break but the center forward equalized at the last minute at the end of the game.

Romelu Lukaku and Jérémy Doku face off in Fifa on the Playstation. ©DR

The players also have a swimming pool, which is still very little used despite better weather than in Belgium, a sauna and a large massage room. The hotel’s largest meeting room was transformed into a tactical meeting place, where on Tuesday Domenico Tedesco showed images of the defeat against Slovakia.

Arthur Theate facing billiards where Youri Tielemans shines more than Dodi Lukebakio. ©RBFA

What emerges from group life is a fairly relaxed atmosphere outside of training, where the federal coach demands a lot of seriousness. Players like to call each other by nicknames only. With a mention for Orel Mangala, baptized “Fifty” by Onana. Reference to rapper 50 Cent who has scars on his face like the midfielder. The origin is very different all the same: it is the trace of a road accident when he was a child for Mangala and the consequence of a shooting for the American star.

On Thursday, the Devils will return to a classic program with training in the morning (completely behind closed doors). The departure to Cologne, where the match against Romania will be played, will take place on Friday, by train.



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