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Fifa Club World Club: Manchester City face Urawa Red Diamonds in semi-finals


Bernardo Silva says the amount of games elite footballers have to play now is “crazy” but big wages mean he cannot complain, as Manchester City prepare for the Club World Cup in Saudi Arabia.

Fifa Club World Club: Manchester City face Urawa Red Diamonds in semi-finals
Fifa Club World Club: Manchester City face Urawa Red Diamonds in semi-finals

City, in the tournament as European champions, play Urawa Red Diamonds in the semi-finals with a potential final against Fluminense on Friday.

“The amount of games we have nowadays, it is a bit crazy because of the rest that players get,” said Silva.

“The risk of injury is up quite a lot.”

This trip is squeezed in between Premier League matches on 16 and 27 December more than 3,000 miles away.

“We were not consulted but we try to do our jobs, to represent our clubs the best possible way, and the people that pay our salaries and the fans that support us,” said Portugal midfielder Silva.

“At the end we cannot complain because we earn a lot of money, but in my opinion, for the people that love the game and are entertained by the game, if we have this many games for so long, at the end the games will lose the energy and the intensity.”

The Club World Cup will be expanded to a 32-team tournament from 2025, which will be held every four years in the summer – instead of the current smaller annual mid-season event.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said: “I am not against the new competitions. I am against the lack of time to recover from year to year.

“This is what I am complaining [about] all the time. For me it doesn’t matter to play every three days, six days, seven days. It is OK.

“But it is really tough to finish the season and then in three weeks restart again and go to Asia, to be financially stable, or the States. That is really, really tough, for ourselves and especially for the players. For myself, things should change.

“But how do you change when [after] you finish the season, you go to the United States to play another competition? This is the problem.”

Guardiola says the Fifa Club World Cup offers Manchester City the chance to “close the little circle and win all the trophies we could” as they prepare for Tuesday’s semi-final with Urawa Red Diamonds.

City are the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and Uefa Super Cup holders and have also won the EFL Cup and Community Shield under Guardiola.

“It’s the first time Man City is here [the Club World Cup],” said Guardiola. “We don’t take it for granted, it’s a privilege, an honour to be here.”

The winners will face Fluminense in Friday’s final after the South American champions beat Al Ahly 2-0 in the first semi-final.

Kevin de Bruyne and Erling Haaland have both travelled to Saudi Arabia after recent injuries – although there is no word on whether either will play.

Midfielder De Bruyne has not played since suffering a hamstring injury on the opening day of the season, but trained with the team on Monday.

Striker Haaland has missed their past three games with a foot injury.

“Erling is a big player for us, we can’t deny that,” midfielder Silva said.

“But the big strength at City in my time here is no matter who is missing, we are the same team and we fight for all the titles.

“We will do that. Of course if Erling Haaland is not here we will miss him, but we have Julian Alvarez and he is a top striker.”

The past 10 Club World Cups have been won by European sides, including Liverpool and Chelsea, with Guardiola having previously won it twice with Barcelona.

They face Asian Champions League holders Urawa of Japan at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City Stadium.

“To reach the final is tricky. We don’t know them much, we got as much information as possible,” Guardiola said.

“Japan’s national team is beating Germany, winning games against the best in the world. Football in Japan is strong.”

Meanwhile, City have been fined £120,000 by the Football Association (FA) after their players surrounded referee Simon Hooper in their dramatic 3-3 draw with Tottenham this month.

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