With so many competitions each season not to mention the constant media pressure on both players and managers, is it realistic to expect a team to win it all? For a top club there is four competitions on the table, and when you factor in the not so small matter of internationals too, their players are on the go all the time – risking burn out not to mention injury to boot.
Of course there have been occasions where teams win it all – United did the treble in 1999 and Barcelona have done it more recently, but in reality it takes an awful lot and then a little bit more to win not only the title but the domestic cup and also the Champions League – not to mention a huge deal of luck with decisions and draws.
Players in the modern game have to contend with not only domestic fixtures but also the international tournaments that are on pretty much none stop – Juan Mata has not only played nearly all of Chelsea’s games, but gone to both the Euros and the Olympics to boot – meaning that the player has literally not stopped. This sadly is all too common for players these days and fatigue can play a huge part in deciding where trophies go in the latter part of the season.
Take the Champions League last season – both Barca and Real Madrid were majorly affected from the title deciding Clasico being smack bang in the middle of the Champion’s League semi-finals, with Madrid’s going into extra time and penalties to boot. It can often be forgotten that players are human and feel exhaustion and emotion like the rest of us – and in front of thousands of people every single week, not to mention the glare of the media spotlight.
A full season in the Premier League is 38 games, not to mention the added rigours of the other domestic competitions – it is no wonder that some managers will sacrifice the Carling Cup or even the FA Cup in pursuit of what they and everyone else sees as bigger glory – either domestically or in Europe.
As we go into an international break this week, some players are able to rest or in Kaka’s case, train twice a day in order to get some first team football in the future, but others such as Ronaldo or Iniesta have to not only contend with traveling but the fixture – and a friendly or qualifier at that. Should such a player come back to their club injured it is entirely reasonable for the club to feel aggrieved – they are paying the wages after all, and with the amount of fixtures the club and players already face, a ridiculous friendly can seriously curtail the chase for trophies towards the latter end of the season. Winning it all? Possible, but highly unlikely.