May 26. Kiev. Real Madrid – Liverpool – 3:1. Mohamed SALAH and Ruben PONCE. Photo: Reuters
It’s time to meet a physical therapist “Liverpool” Ruben Pons – ultimate secret weapon of the stars of the national team of Egypt
On 29-th minute of the Champions League final between real Madrid and Liverpool Sergio Ramos in the fight with Mohamed Salah dropped on the ground, and the Egyptians, severely damaging the shoulder, could not continue until the biggest match of his career.
He is in tears, left the field “Olympic”, accompanied by the man in the gray sweatshirt club – that he will soon have to return the Salah in full combat readiness.
Meet Ruben Ponce – physiotherapist “red” and one of the closest people surrounded by the stars of the national team of Egypt.
THE DARKEST HOUR IN LIFE
While 90 million Egyptians and countless fans of “Liverpool” is yet ready to heap curses the head of Ramos, Ponce knew that something was wrong. “We immediately realized that Mo has a serious problem – he’s generally never complains. Afraid to horror” – he said after the final edition of Marca. Ponce was with Salah at the stadium before halftime, tried to calm him down, saying that there was nothing to do, you need to look for solutions and not to complain no matter what, because it is useless.
During the break they drove off together to the nearest hospital – make the first pictures, to stabilize the hand, to make further plan of action. Mo walked through the house like a tiger in a cage. Ponce recalled: “We were in touch with members of the team, knew the count, upset, happy, upset again…It was the darkest hour in his life.”
When they returned to the stadium, the final was already history. Liverpool FC’s full squad was waiting for them alone, to get into the bus. Salah helped to change – he couldn’t because of the tight bandage on his left arm and shoulder pain, and the team went to the airport. “Don’t worry, for the world Cup you’ll be fine. You called me down here – I can’t go to Russia alone,” whispered the Egyptian in Ponce.
INVITATION TO THE 2018 WORLD CUP
Salah actually invited Ponsa for the 2018 world Cup –for it is important that beside him there was a reliable person. Egyptian football Federation had nothing against, and Pons joined the medical staff of the African team. “If a man personally asked if I could go with him to the world championship and to help him there, there is only one answer,” wrote a Spanish physiotherapist in their social networks that day.
“Never before in my life was nothing like that. I went to the location of the Brazil team during the friendly matches to test how you recover from trauma Firmino and Coutinho, when Philip was still playing at Liverpool, but the world Cup in this status waiting for me for the first time. I am grateful to Mo for the confidence,” he will tell later.
This trust has been conquered, slowly but surely. Pons, working at Liverpool in 2014, met with Salah last summer when he came from Roma. An Egyptian once told him that not too fan of physical therapists and their procedures, reported several old problems that were in the same clubs, and stopped. Pons suggested to try chiropractic and acupuncture, but it turned out that Salah has never had to deal with them. Ponce explained the value that he will experience after that, it should be reflected on the physical state, and the Egyptian – the guy not shy ten – obediently lay back on the couch. Few weeks, according to Ponce, it was the ears can’t get enough of these procedures.
They conducted long conversations – not just about football: talking about family, traditions and customs of their home countries, habits and childhood memories. When Salah understood that the method of Pons gives off, he began increasingly to turn to him for advice. Ponce recalled recently that by the end of February the Egyptian nearly got the batteries three winter months he spent on the wear and the sores began to remind myself. After losing to Manchester United (1:2), in which Salah was not similar to itself, they sat down, made a short program on recovery and return of energy, the Defense rested and after a week in the game, “Watford” made the poker, adding an assist.
The main surprise for many was the decision of Salah to undergo rehabilitation after a shoulder injury in the tiny Spanish Benicassim, in castellón province is 20 km from the city, where is the “Villarreal” Denis Cheryshev. It’s simple – it is the hometown of Ruben Pons, and the physiotherapist took her to the ward because he considered that the conditions there are most suitable for quick recovery. Ponce did and he played football – started in the “Benicasim”, almost across the street from the house, continued in “Castellon” from the Spanish fourth division and even made it to the first team, but the gap “crosses” sent him from the football field on University bench -to study medicine and to treat the same poor fellows like himself.
Then was five years in the “Vila-real” (four of them side by side with Manuel Pellegrini), familiarity with Riquelme, Forlan Cazorla, moving to England. First, Pons worked there personally with the players in the “Newcastle” with Jose Enrique at Arsenal with Cazorla in Swansea, with Pablo Hernandez. When Jose Enrique went to Liverpool and he started having a knee problem, the physiotherapist came at Anfield. His work is liked by club management, and in 2014 Pons was offered a position in the medical staff of “red”.
Now, four years later, he returned home with the star of “Liverpool” and the national team of Egypt to help him show itself in all its glory at the world Cup in Russia. While Salah is mastered in Spain, and met with local color (including the famous Valencian paella), Pons break your head over how to quickly return the Egyptians their Pharaoh.
The President of the football Association, Egypt’s Hany Abu Rida said the good news: fats may miss the opening game for the 2018 world Cup with Uruguay, but for the match with Russia will be ready at 100 percent.
All because his doctor knows his business.
Yegor BYCHKOV, Sport-Express