Kevin De Bruyne: “I know nothing is going to change”

Kevin De Bruyne
Photo: Getty images

Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne fears football authorities will continue to ignore welfare of players ahead of another marathon season for Manchester City and Belgium.

De Bruyne played 52 games for club and country last season and could play up to 80 matches next season due to the World Cup in November.

Kevin De Bruyne recently described the Nations League as ‘unimportant’ and highlighted the lack of rest for top players, which he estimated would amount to three weeks in 12 months.

“I know nothing is going to change,” Kevin De Bruyne said.

“I have played three games at the top of my physical level in the Nations League for Belgium so physically I am fine. But it just doesn’t make any sense.

“You are never going to play 79, 80 games. It’s not possible.

“But it’s not only playing games, it’s the training, it’s the travelling, it’s everything. Sometimes you go away and travel but you do not play. It’s even exhausting.

“With the Nations League, I can understand why you want to eliminate the friendly games but sometimes it is also a good chance for other players to get an opportunity.

“I feel playing the Nations League for a lot of countries gives less opportunity (to fringe players) because the tournament feels a little bit more important than it actually is. Then maybe other guys can get a break.”

What has De Bruyne said about the Nations League?

“Two weeks is too long. Well, as a player we can’t change that much. I’m not exactly looking forward to it,” Kevin De Bruyne said at a press conference before the start of the UEFA Nations League this month.

“The Nations League is unimportant in my eyes. Just glorified friendlies after a long and tough season. I am not looking forward to it.

“Anyway, we can say that we want more rest. Nothing changes anyway. Once on the field we will do what we have to do.”

Belgium boss Roberto Martinez has given Kevin De Bruyne permission to go off early on holiday after their 1-1 draw with Wales on Saturday.

De Bruyne has been allowed to miss Belgium’s Nations League game against Poland on Tuesday.

“De Bruyne has given enough, so has Carrasco,” Martinez said.

“Meunier played two games in quick succession after not playing for three months. We can’t force anyone.”

However, De Bruyne, who had been critical about having to play in the Nations League this month after a long season with Manchester City, said he would have been happy to continue.

“I have played three matches for almost 90 minutes. Physically I am okay and I would have liked to play the last game against Poland, but it is the decision of the coach,” he told reporters.