SPORT confidential: Neymar reveals Barça's best kept secret (an anti-fatigue machine)

SPORT confidential: Neymar reveals Barça's best kept secret (an anti-fatigue machine)

Neymar published a photo after the Sevilla game with ice on his shoulder treating a slight knock he had picked up in the game. He posted it because he wanted to calm down his fans' worries - not because he wanted to reveal one of Barcelona's medical team's best kept secrets. The Brazilian appeared with a bulky black canvas over his leg, which had two tubes coming out and going into a machine. 

What is this? you will ask. Well, it's nothing more than an anti-fatigue and muscle recovery machine that Barcelona have used to a great deal of success since last season. It's become the perfect complement to the work done each day by the club's physiotherapists. It's technical name is the pneumatic compressor unit and it's the most recent technology in presotherapy - which is recovery through atmospheric pressure. 

All the squad use the machine two or three times a week after training. The intensity and the frequency of the use depends on the workload in terms of games etc. In principle, it's the players that indicate to the medical team that they have noticed their leags feeling a bit heavy, although the GPS vests they train with can also help to indicate muscle fatigue. Sessions with the machine don't last longer than 25 minutes and are supervised by a physiotherapist.

From January, when the Copa del Rey really kicks in, the calendar becomes busier and the use of the anti-fatigue machine becomes almost daily for some players. The machine has proved so successful, that Neymar has one in his home now to allow him to recover from minor knocks and muscle fatigue after games. However, the other members of the trident prefer to use the one exclusively at the Ciutat Esportiva. 

The MSN are the three players who use the machine most often, as they are the members of Luis Enrique's squad who accumulate the most fatigue in their legs as they play nearly every minute of every game. 

The players say that since they have started using this new technology they have noticed much less fatigue in their legs - there is also an accessory for the goalkeepers' arms. They say that after a tough training session, it allows them to feel 'revitalised'. Keep in mind that Barça are the Spanish side who have played the most games this season, too (47 and counting). 

Unfortunately, the secret has now been revealed to them managing to fight on all three fronts despite the fixture load (as well at their extraordinary talent, of course). It would not be strange if Doctor Olmo (Real Madrid) has been taking notes...