Pep Guardiola says football’s governing bodies are “killing” footballers due to the relentless nature of their fixture programmes.
In a packed year of international and European club matches, Guardiola’s Manchester City are edging towards completing an historic quadruple of Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup.
Due to City’s resources, Guardiola has the luxury of rotating players for matches in all of those competitions and not weakening his side too much, with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Joao Cancelo, Ilkay Gundogan and John Stones on the bench for the 2-0 weekend win at Leicester City.
But Guardiola says he has no option but to rotate his players.
“UEFA and FIFA kill the players and it is too much,” he said after the win at the King Power.
“We haven’t had one midweek off since we started. They are human beings, not machines.
“The reason I rotate every game with six or seven players is because everybody is fit and because we have an incredible squad and I won’t let them play as much as possible.
“Some of them want to play every day, but it is impossible to compete in all competitions.
“In this year, without spectators, with the shortest competition ever… we started later and will finish earlier.
“So if you don’t rotate you cannot win all the competitions. You cannot be here in the position we are now.”
Guardiola was particularly critical of the recent international break, with several of his players playing in three matches in the space of just over a week for their countries.
“Some played three games, 90 minutes, 90 minutes and 90 minutes and they travel,” he said.
“Of course they could want to play as they have an incredible mentality to be there all the time and to play and play, but they rest.
“So no player can play all the time physically or mentally and be ready every day to compete. It is impossible.”