Guardiola hits out at 48-team World Cup: 'We are going to kill the players'

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The Manchester City boss says players are being asked to do too much due to expanded international tournaments and lucrative pre-season tours

Pep Guardiola has hit out at football’s decision makers over the sport’s non-stop calendar, and insists a 48-team World Cup will "kill the players".

The Manchester City manager believes players' best interests are being forgotten about when governing bodies schedule competitions, whether high-profile international tournaments or lucrative pre-season tours.

Reports this week have suggested FIFA president Gianni Infantino is open to the idea of expanding the World Cup from 32 teams to 48, while this year’s European Championship consisted of 24 teams, rather than 16, for the first time.

But Guardiola is against the larger competitions and says that teams should at least be able to make more substitutions during games if their players are asked to play all year round.

"It's not just English football, it's all around the world,” he said Friday. “Now they talk about a World Cup of 48 teams. We are going to kill the players.

"We are looking for the quality and forget the quantity so the players don't rest, they have a lot of pressure. There is more competition, more games. The intensity is high here.

"In Spain they have four teams in the Champions League and three in the Europa League. So the level in Spain is higher than here, in terms of going forward.

"We accept the decision. FIFA will decide and we accept the decision and if we are not happy we go home. They are focusing more and more and more, and it affects the quality.

"I am thinking just for the players. They have to breathe, to break, to enjoy.

"This kind of thing is impossible because we are going to finish [the season], then after one week the World Cup, then after three weeks we go to the pre-season, we go to China, the [United] States, Australia. You play against Milan, Juventus, [Real] Madrid and you have to win, people demand you have to play good.

“[You have] no preparation then you come back and it's 11 months again and [then] it's the European Cup. You do this for 10 or 12 years and we don't think about the players. For that reason there has to be huge squads, more money for the clubs to spend. It's just three substitutions now, why can’t you make four, five or six?

“All the players are [then] involved more than before, the coaches can use different tactics. [There would be] less injuries, more open games, everything would be better. But OK, FIFA have other opinions.

"We have to protect the players and we do not do that. From players today, we are demanding too much, from my point of view."

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