Alisson Becker is among top footballers to raise the alarm about the amount of matches at the top of men’s professional football.
The Liverpool and Brazil goalkeeper says national team players in particular are not getting enough rest and recuperation.
“We don’t have enough vacation,” said Becker, who played 72 games last season, and travelled 80,000 kilometers.
“It has to be improved a lot. We need a change of mentality – not just by one organization or one committee but by everyone.”
Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric says each season is more punishing.
“Every year there are more games,” Modric said. “It seems that every year there is some new competition in football but that’s the way it is –- it’s exhausting players.
FIFPRO’s At The Limit report published last year showed Tottenham Hotspur forward Song Heung-min played in 78 matches and travelled 110,600 kilometers in 12 months.
The busy match calendar could even bring forward the retirement of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, who says the schedule is getting “harder and harder” for him at age 32.
“You’re head rules everything and when you’re mentally fit it’s easier to handle it,” Messi said. “But at the same time your body suffers and feels the trips, the matches, the effort.”
- Mandatory off-season breaks of 4 weeks, and mid-season breaks of 2 weeks;
- A cap on the amount of back-to-back competitive games with less than the five days of recovery time;
- Consider an annual match cap for each individual player to protect his health and performance;
- Develop an early-warning system to monitor player match load and help forward planning.