Former Real Madrid midfielder and Dutch international Rafael van der Vaart spoke out against players who have spoken out against the ‘excess’ of international fixtures (via MARCA).
“I think it’s nonsense. Then you have six months off. You play football, a club pays you a lot of money... of course the fixtures come around often, we’ve all been there.”
“Competition is the most fun there is, these players are just whining.”
This is likely in response to Real Madrid and Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois speaking out against UEFA and FIFA in a post-match interview (via ESPN) following Belgium’s third-place loss to Italy on Sunday.
“It’s just a money game, and we have to be honest about it. For UEFA, it’s extra money and it’s an extra game because it’s on TV. Of course everyone wants to play, but look at how much both teams changed.”
“If the teams had been in the final, there would have been other players playing. This just shows that we play too many games.”
Both Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku and Real Madrid winger Eden Hazard missed the third-place match for Roberto Martinez’s side due to injuries sustained during the Nations League competition.
“Next year we have a World Cup in November, we’ll have to play until the latter stages of June again. We will get injured. Nobody cares about the players. In June, after a long season, you’ll have to play four games in the Nations League, you’ll get two weeks holiday.”
“That’s not enough for players to continue for 12 months at the highest level. If we never say anything, it’s always the same.”