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'Something Has To Change' - Gareth Bale Says Elite Players Play 'Too Much' In Passionate Speech

Daniel Marland

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'Something Has To Change' - Gareth Bale Says Elite Players Play 'Too Much' In Passionate Speech

Featured Image Credit: Sky Sports & Alamy

Gareth Bale wants football's governing bodies to look into fixture congestion and consider the welfare of players.

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This year's World Cup in Qatar will be played in the winter and it's increased the level of congestion in the footballing calendar.

Bale spoke at length about the issue ahead of Wales' Nations League clash with Belgium this evening and used opponent Kevin De Bruyne as an example.

He said: "It's crazy. We were speaking the other day at lunch that [Kevin] De Bruyne could play 79 games next season and have a three week break. It's too much, things obviously need to change.

"I think every player will tell you there's way too many games it's impossible to play at a high level for that amount of games. I think the one thing is there will be long-term consequences.

"People's bodies can't deal with that sort of calendar year after year. Something has to change and people at the top of the game have to do something."

Domestic campaigns wrapped up in May and players immediately jetted off on international duty for World Cup qualifiers and Nations League games.

Bale's example of De Bruyne is valid if Belgium reach the World Cup final and Manchester City reach the final of every competition they're eligible for.

De Bruyne played 45 times for Manchester City this season. (Image Credit: Alamy)
De Bruyne played 45 times for Manchester City this season. (Image Credit: Alamy)

It is doable, with Liverpool playing all 63 matches available to them between August and May as they looked to win a quadruple.

They won the Carabao Cup and FA Cup, but eventually ran out of steam and lost the Champions League final to Real Madrid.

Outgoing Real winger Bale added: "They need to look after players, without the players there is no product.

"There will be consequences in the long term, people's bodies can't deal with that kind of calendar year after year.

"Something has to change, the people at the top of the game have to do something, but unfortunately money comes into it.

"It's a business at the end of the day, but for player welfare the money needs to be overlooked."

Bale helped Wales qualify for their first World Cup in 64 years. (Image Credit: Alamy)
Bale helped Wales qualify for their first World Cup in 64 years. (Image Credit: Alamy)

Wales' game with Belgium will be their fourth in 10 days after going through Nations League clashes with Poland and the Netherlands in addition to a World Cup playoff final against Ukraine.

Their season still won't be over either, with another fixture against the Netherlands set for next Tuesday.

Topics: Gareth Bale, Wales

Daniel Marland
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