Will the international break derail Real Madrid’s return to form?

11300 NE 2ND AVE, MIAMI SHORES, FL 33161, MIAMI, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES - 2018/03/21: Luka Modric looks very well and happy in the training in the city of Miami where he will play a friendly against Peru, they have a good feeling of the match against the national team of South America who were 32 years old without reaching a world cup.The Croatia national football team will play a friendly match against Peru on Friday at 23 March at the Hard Rock Cafe Stadium in the city of Miami. (Photo by Fernando Oduber/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
11300 NE 2ND AVE, MIAMI SHORES, FL 33161, MIAMI, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES - 2018/03/21: Luka Modric looks very well and happy in the training in the city of Miami where he will play a friendly against Peru, they have a good feeling of the match against the national team of South America who were 32 years old without reaching a world cup.The Croatia national football team will play a friendly match against Peru on Friday at 23 March at the Hard Rock Cafe Stadium in the city of Miami. (Photo by Fernando Oduber/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid were just returning to form, and now they have to go out on international break. Could the break disrupt Madrid’s newfound momentum?

After a terrible beginning to the season, Real Madrid looked like they were finally starting to find some form. Gearing up to mount a challenge in the Champions League, Real Madrid battered PSG, and finally seem to have found their scoring boots. At the heart of this resurgence has been one Cristiano Ronaldo, who has gone from close to the bottom of the scoring charts to a new contender for the Pichichi trophy after scoring a boatload of goals in 2018.

But now, Real Madrid fans are going to have to wait to see Los Blancos in action again, as the International Break is upon us. With the break comes the risk that Real Madrid could lose some of the momentum that they were finally starting to build. How big of a threat is the international break for Real Madrid’s resurgence?

One of the biggest problems for players on international break are the added travel demands. International friendlies often require players to make long distance trips to far away places. Gareth Bale will have to travel to China, and Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic have to travel to the United States. The added demands of jet lag could take a toll on players in this crucial part of the season.

But the biggest threat to Real Madrid from the international break comes from the possibility of injuries. Real Madrid are often victims of the “FIFA Virus” – the tendency for players to get injured when on international duty. For example, Luka Modric picked up an injury in November of 2014 when on international break with Croatia. While that injury certainly wasn’t the only thing that went wrong, it certainly played a major role in derailing Carlo Ancelotti’s season, leaving Madrid without a trophy and Ancelotti without a job.

Nevertheless, Real Madrid have reason to be hopeful that this break won’t be as disastrous as some in the past. First of all, Zidane has been implementing a healthy rotation policy throughout this season. It’s hard to predict Zidane’s lineup from game to game, which hopefully means that most players aren’t too exhausted and at the risk of being punished with overuse injuries.

Second, that tactical flexibility from Zidane also means that Madrid have the ability to deal with injuries better than Madrid squads in the past. For example, when both Toni Kroos and Luka Modric were out injured for the second leg against PSG, Zidane put his faith in other players like Mateo Kovacic, Marco Asensio, and Lucas Vazquez, and saw the side through.

Finally, these National Team matches are just friendlies. There’s an added incentive for players to not go in too hard for tackles in a series of ultimately meaningless games, and for National Team coaches to rest their players rather than having them risk injury ahead of the World Cup. Everyone has an incentive here to ensure that players return from break with minimal wear and tear.

Next: Twenty Real Madrid players out on international duty

Let’s hope Real Madrid’s players can avoid the FIFA virus and show back up the next week injury free. Real Madrid will need all the advantages they can get if they want to defend their Champions League trophy.

Stay tuned to The Real Champs for more Real Madrid coverage.