After an enduring season, the Dutch midfielder now has to play in UEFA Nations League semifinal
Whoever thinks that the football season is over in Europe for at least some time is wrong! Just after the last European leagues finished their relegation/promotion playoffs, and everything went quiet until the qualifications for UEFA competitions start again, the ‘lucky ones’ are going out on the field right now.
One of many UEFA competitions is coming to an end and the final games will be played this and next week.
The third edition of Nations League will be decided between Croatia, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, and the timing couldn’t be worse – during the summer, after a long and exhausting season, which was interrupted by FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
And many players are really annoyed by expanding the football calendar without asking the players what they think about it. Barcelona’s midfielder Frenkie De Jong is not scared to criticize the competition and timing.
“Our schedule is just getting fuller. There is also a game for third or fourth place in the Nations League, literally nobody is waiting for this. There will be a new format for the Champions League with more games just so that UEFA can earn more money” De Jong said ahead of the game with Croatia on Wednesday, as reported by De Telegraaf.
His comments are along the line with a player who won’t participate this time, but has the same opinion – Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian midfielder famously named this competition as ‘unimportant’.
“For me, the Nations League is unimportant. We have to play those matches, but it’s a kind of practice campaign.
Everyone has had a very tough season. As soon as we are on the field, we do what we have to do. Then I want to win. Other than that, I don’t have much to say about it. We have nothing to say about it. As players, we can talk about vacation or rest, but we have no say.
The outsiders don’t understand how a player feels after a season. It doesn’t have to be, in the end it won’t change anyway. Nor is there any point in saying anything about it. Nothing will change anyway” he said back in May 2022.
And Champions League winner Pep Guardiola mentioned the same thing after being asked about the new season, just as he finished the game with Inter Milan.
“We need a break, it’s too long. Our players have international games now. UEFA and FIFA, think about it. The Premier League finished two or three weeks ago, now people have to come back. It’s too much” said the Spaniard.
Qualifiers for Euro 2024 will also be held during the upcoming international window, although teams playing in the Nations League will not be involved. A report by world players’ union FIFPRO has projected that changes to both competitions from the 2024-25 season could lead to an 11 per cent increase in the number of matches top players are involved in.