Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski thinks the condensed schedule that has taken place over the past year could cause a drop in the quality of the game.
“So many people forget that we are humans, we are not machines, we cannot play every day at the highest level of performance,” Lewandowski said to The Times (as captured by The Athletic). “Already we have so many games. For football, and for the young players, that will be the big problem, to stay at the top for many years, because now, and maybe the next two years, that will be extreme: so many big games. In the long run, it will be difficult for players to stay at the top and show their best quality, not sometimes but all the time.”
Lewandowski, though, is not just talking about the effects that COVID-19 has had on the global game’s schedule. With so many competitions on the club level and internationally, Lewandowski is concerned that players just will not have enough time to recover. More, the Poland international thinks fans could become bored because the game might not be seen as special any longer.
“If we were talking about one or two years, that’s something different, but we are talking about the next five or ten years,” he says. “And even for the fans, I think so many games will be more boring, because if you wait for the games longer, there is more expectation for that game, that feeling that you’ve been waiting for this. The quality of games will go down. It’s not possible to stay with this quality on the top with so many games.”
Lewandowski might have a point, but fans are a fickle — and diverse — lot. Some love the game for what it is and what it means, while another segment laud the abundance of games because they have fantasy and gambling interests.
Regardless, Lewandowski’s concern about a dip in quality could hold true. Players are already taking an immense amount of pre-emptive measure to take care of themselves physically. Whether it is strength, speed and agility training, endurance sessions, flexibility exercises, and dietary measures, today’s players are — by and large — doing all they can to prepare their bodies for a rigorous schedule. The question remains, however, how much is too much?