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While their teammates from other continents are away on international duty, many European players in the Premier League have taken the opportunity to sneak in some winter sun on their midseason break.
Some players are toiling away for their national teams at the Africa Cup of Nations or battling for World Cup qualification, but others have been posting on social media images of them enjoying their hard-earned leisure time whiling away the idle hours on tropical beaches, at opulent restaurants and the ubiquitous golf course.
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Most of them are back in action this weekend when the fourth round of the FA Cup begins (stream LIVE matches on ESPN+ in the U.S.), so this was their last chance for a little rest and relaxation ahead before the business end of the season begins in earnest.
Spare a thought, for example, for United States forward Christian Pulisic. He and the rest of his USMNT colleagues have shivered their way through three matches against CONCACAF rivals in freezing temperatures. Wednesday’s 3-0 win over Honduras kicked off in St. Paul, Minn. with the thermometer at 1 degree Fahrenheit, with a wind chill of -14. How cold is that? This cold.
Excellent use of visual aids pic.twitter.com/B5nIJIqddl
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) February 3, 2022
Meanwhile, a small contingent of Pulisic’s Chelsea teammates were in sunny Miami to take in some NBA action. Mason Mount and Jorginho were even invited along as guests of honour as the Miami Heat hosted the New York Knicks at the FTX Arena.
— NBA UK (@NBAUK) January 28, 2022
The Blues pair met with Heat star Bam Adebayo before Mount swapped personalised jerseys with Tyler Herro.
Meanwhile, teammate Antonio Rudiger travelled to Sierra Leone for a busy few days in which he launched the Antonio Rudiger Foundation, picked up a diplomatic passport and became a “brand ambassador” for the country.
The 28-year-old centre-back, whose mother is from Sierra Leone, was given a truly extraordinary welcome at the airport as throngs of excited fans heralded his arrival.
Antonio Rudiger received an incredible welcome when he landed in Sierra Leone 😳🇸🇱 pic.twitter.com/dBQcf0s2xT
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 25, 2022
Things were a little more serene for Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, who went for an oceanfront bike ride in The Maldives.
Maldives Mornings 🚴👌🏽😍 pic.twitter.com/WF1md4Sdg6
— Trent Alexander-Arnold (@TrentAA) January 30, 2022
Reds club captain Jordan Henderson was also on the same islands in the Indian Ocean, taking some time out to recharge the batteries while on holiday with his family.
Amazing memories made. Recharged and ready to go again! 🔋 🏝 pic.twitter.com/3Jp1ZEOBc8
— Jordan Henderson (@JHenderson) January 30, 2022
The England midfielder had previously taken part in the Dubai Desert Classic Pro-Am golf tournament alongside teammates Andy Robertson, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
— Andy Robertson (@andrewrobertso5) January 29, 2022
Manchester United captain Harry Maguire and Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford also took part in the competition which also featured Formula 1 driver Lando Norris.
Maguire and Pickford joined veteran British golfer Lee Westwood for the tournament, which was won by a team led by U.S. star and five-time PGA Tour winner Collin Morikawa.
“I enjoyed it, the course is amazing and to get the chance to play with Lee and score a few birdies was great,” Maguire said. “We’ve been looked after really well, it has been a lovely day overall.”
West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice stayed closer to home for his dose of golf but his trip to Scotland for a round on the Old Course at St Andrews was no less picturesque.
Elsewhere, Manchester City’s midfield maestro Kevin De Bruyne and his family donned matching beige outfits in order to pose for a photo on their tropical getaway.
City’s record signing Jack Grealish flew out to Dubai for a few days where he was reunited with former Aston Villa teammate John McGinn.
“Back with my brother,” the 26-year-old wrote in his post on Instagram.
Several other City players went in search of some late winter sun as Aymeric Laporte posted a photo of himself absorbing some Vitamin D in The Bahamas.
Meanwhile, Bernardo Silva was pictured spending the evening chilling out by the sea in Sri Lanka.
— City Xtra (@City_Xtra) January 25, 2022
Given their recent takeover, it’s perhaps unsurprising that relegation-threatened Newcastle United traipsed to Saudi Arabia for their midseason retreat. However, it would seem that the heat got the better of defender Ciaran Clark, who managed to get himself sent off in a “friendly” match against Al Ittihad.
Despite the game supposedly being a friendly, the centre-back was shown a straight red card for lashing out at striker Abdo Hamdallah.
Thankfully, both players were all smiles as they let bygones be bygones, hugged and exchanged shirts after the match.
— صحيفة الرياضية (@ariyadhiah) January 28, 2022
The hard work didn’t stop for Manchester United and Arsenal either, as both teams flew to Dubai in order to undergo warm-weather training camps at the Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex.
Putting in the hard yards 🏃♂️
📍 NAS Sports Complex, Dubai pic.twitter.com/diGKuAzqQe
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) January 28, 2022
During the trip, Gunners manager Mikel Arteta was reunited with former Arsenal teammate Manuel Alumnia (who now works as a coach with Al Jazira) when he stopped by to say hello.
Former Arsenal goalkeeper & current Al Jazira goalkeeping coach Manuel Almunia catching up with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta during the club’s warm weather training camp in Dubai today. #afc pic.twitter.com/2yHKQIuAyg
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) January 31, 2022
United pair Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard both looked to be having fun while training in the sweltering Middle-Eastern sunshine.
Along with the rest of the United contingent, Cristiano Ronaldo also spent several days out in Dubai, heading out there soon after his team’s 1-0 win over West Ham to post his obligatory topless sunbathing picture while wearing his own brand of swimming trunks.
The Portugal captain also seized the opportunity to celebrate his partner Georgina Rodriguez’s 28th birthday in grand style. Ronaldo used a little of his celebrity clout to have the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa tower, lit up in honour of his partner to mark her big day.
The spectacular visuals included promo images of Rodriguez’s new Netflix documentary series “I Am Georgina,” as well as little messages from Ronaldo.
The entire family celebrated together on the beach, did some sightseeing around Dubai and then converged for supper at a restaurant with a lofted vantage of the 828-metre high illuminations.
Georgina, who is pregnant with twins, thanked her partner for making her day so special. “Here is how this exciting day ended. I can’t find the words. Thanks and thanks again Cristiano. You can’t make me any happier..” she wrote on Instagram.
As if his getaway wasn’t busy enough already, Ronaldo also picked up a Globe Soccer award for becoming the all-time top scorer in men’s international football.
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) January 29, 2022
But it wasn’t all fun and games for Ronaldo, as he was soon back on the training pitch.
At one point, he was joined on the field by his eldest son, Cristiano Jr.
“Present and future,” Ronaldo wrote in his post. No pressure, kid.
Ronaldo and his United teammates will be back in action when they host Middlesbrough in the FA Cup on Friday (stream LIVE at 2:55 p.m. ET on ESPN+ in the U.S.).