Manchester City is gearing up to face the Club World Cup in Saudi Arabia, with midfielder Bernardo Silva expressing his views on the overwhelming number of matches that elite footballers have to play nowadays as “crazy.” However, he acknowledges that the substantial wages they receive prevent them from complaining.
City, participating in the tournament as European champions, will face Urawa Red Diamonds in the semifinals with the potential for a final against Fluminense on Friday.
“The number of matches we have nowadays is a bit crazy due to the lack of rest for players,” said Silva.
“The risk of injury increases significantly.”
This journey is squeezed in between Premier League matches on December 16 and 27, spanning over 3,000 miles.
“We were not consulted, but we try to do our jobs, represent our club in the best possible way, and acknowledge the people who pay our salaries and the fans who support us,” said the Portuguese midfielder.
“In the end, we cannot complain because we earn a lot of money, but in my opinion, for those who love the game and are entertained by it, having this many games for so long will eventually lead to a loss of energy and intensity.”
The Club World Cup will expand to a 32-team tournament starting in 2025, held every four years in the summer, departing from the current smaller annual mid-season event.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola stated, “I am not against new competitions. I am against the lack of time to recover from year to year.”
“This is what I always complain about. For me, it doesn’t matter to play every three days, six days, seven days. It is okay.”
“But it is really tough to finish the season and then, within three weeks, restart and go to Asia or the United States to be financially stable. That is really, really tough, for us and especially for the players. In my opinion, things should change.”
“But how do you change when, after finishing the season, you go to the United States to play another competition? That is the problem.”
Guardiola mentioned that the FIFA Club World Cup provides Manchester City with the opportunity to “close the little circle and win all the trophies we could” as they prepare for the semifinal against Urawa Red Diamonds on Tuesday.
City holds titles in the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, and UEFA Super Cup, and has also won the EFL Cup and Community Shield under Guardiola.
“It’s the first time Manchester City is here [in the Club World Cup],” said Guardiola. “We don’t take it for granted; it’s a privilege, an honor to be here.”
The winner will face Fluminense in Friday’s final after the South American champions defeated Al Ahly 2-0 in the first semifinal.
Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland have traveled to Saudi Arabia after recent injuries, although it is unclear whether they will play.
De Bruyne, a midfielder, has not played since suffering a hamstring injury on the opening day of the season but trained with the team on Monday. Haaland, a striker, has missed their last three games due to a foot injury.
“Erling is a big player for us, that cannot be denied,” said Silva.
“But the great strength at City during my time here is that no matter who is missing, we are the same team and we fight for all the titles.”
The last ten Club World Cups have been won by European sides, including Liverpool and Chelsea, with Guardiola previously winning it twice with Barcelona.
They will face Urawa, the Asian Champions League holders from Japan, at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City Stadium.
“To reach the final is tricky. We don’t know them much; we got as much information as possible,” said Guardiola.
Meanwhile, City has been fined £120,000 by the Football Association (FA) after their players surrounded referee Simon Hooper in their dramatic 3-3 draw with Tottenham this month.