Spain and Barcelona are coming out of this international break deeply frustrated following a terrible injury to Gavi, and alongside a batch of injuries suffered by La Liga sides during the domestic pause, has brought the excessive football calendar to the top of the agenda.
It is not simply that players are getting injured more often, but that many of these injuries are serious and potentially career-altering problems. Gavi is set to miss the rest of the season, the Euros and the Olympics with his issues, while knee problems have plagued Ansu Fati too.
As per Cadena Cope, across the top two divisions in Spain, 18 players are currently recovering from anterior cruciate ligament issues or serious knee problems. In addition to Gavi, two crucial Real Madrid players went down early in the season, as Eder Militao went down in the first game, and Thibaut Courtois just two days prior.
Reinildo Mandava looks as if he is on the verge of returning from an ACL injury suffered in March of last year, while Vitolo has been out since May. Across the city, Getafe have been without star striker Enes Unal since the latter stages of last season – he is expected to return in December or January, while Uruguayan midfielder Mauro Arambarri recovered from a long-term absence last season, only to be ruled out for the rest of this campaign in recent weeks.
Villarreal are another of the chief victims. Yeremy Pino will not make the Euros either, after he suffered an ACL injury last week, while Francis Coquelin is in the final stretch of his recovery after the same problem suffered in February. Elsewhere in La Liga, Aleksandar Sedlar of Alaves looks to be out for the rest of the season, and Toni Villa of Girona is still recovering from his knee issues which began last April.
In Segunda, Real Oviedo have endured a brutal run of fortune, with Rodrigo Tarin, Alex Millan and Mario Hernandez all going down with ACL problems. Jose Leon of Tenerife, Ruben Pulido of Huesca, Esteban Saveljich of Burgos and on-loan Celta Vigo midfielder Miguel Baeza is out long-term at Mirandes.
All parties seem to acknowledge that the problem is the workload being demanded of the players, yet nobody appears willing to cede ground or money to address it. From next year UEFA will expand the Champions League, while FIFA intend to expand both the Club World Cup and the World Cup in the two subsequent years.
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