How Ronaldo's fitness guru worked wonders on Degenek

Australia defender Milos Degenek has revealed how the Serbian conditioning guru whose clients include Ronaldo, Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos saved him from missing out for the Socceroos.

Milos Degenek

Milos Degenek has ended his contract stoush with 1860 Munich to sign with a J-League club Source: Getty Images

Scratched from last month's World Cup qualifiers against Saudi Arabia and Japan with a meniscus injury, the Hertha Berlin utility was expected to be out for a minimum of eight weeks.

But a dash to Belgrade to go under the spell of renowned healer, sports scientist Ante Milutinovic, cut Degenek's recovery time in half, allowing him to return to the Socceroos fold for Tuesday's qualifier against Thailand in Bangkok.

"I felt really bad that I couldn't make it to the last camp and help the team out because I got injured a week before," explained Degenek who is battling with Perth Glory's Josh Risdon for the right back role against the Thais.

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"I trained eight hours a day with no real break, then slept eight hours, and did it all again the next day.

"The guy has worked with some of the biggest names in football, including players at Madrid and Barcelona, Manchester City and Shaktar Donetsk.

"He's a very intelligent guy and he got me back way quicker than expected.

"Right now he's working to get Luka Modric fit, and he's one of the very best.

"It was a lot of hard work but it's paid off."

Degenek got a stud to the head in his comeback game for his second tier German club nine days ago and needed seven stitches in nasty gash.

But nothing was going to stop him rejoining the squad in search of his fifth cap.

"It's a big chance for me to make a statement," Degenek said, with coach Ange Postecoglou yet to decide on his preferred right back in a three-way tussle which also includes the omitted Ryan McGowan.

"Gowser's a very good person and footballer and it's a shame he's not there, but I don't have a say in any of that. 

"It's a chance to make a move for me and if I do well in training, then hopefully I will be picked in a winning team.

"I am getting used to playing at right back.

"I've been there a few times now with my country and have played the role a few times for my club.

"It's best thing in the world to represent your county, there's nothing better."

Degenek believes Australia will return to winning ways against the bottom side in Group B after successive draws.

"We go out win every game and you can't underestimate anyone but we should be able to get the result if we play as we can," he said.

Looking at the broader canvas, Degenek tips the Socceroos to turn heads in the coming months and years.

"This team can spring a few surprises and be a big team in world football," he predicted.



"It will take time but the quality is there .. Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic, Mass Luongo, Robbie Kruse and Mathew Leckie are all top, top players.

"Then you have the experience of Mile Jedinak, Timmy (Cahill) and Matt Spiranovic ... it's a team that will only get better."


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3 min read
Published 13 November 2016 at 10:45am
By Dave Lewis