Manchester United’s Portuguese star is cited as a player who has had “a high match volume” and is in “a very high critical zone” percentage of minutes played for his club and country
Bruno Fernandes is one of the players most at risk of burnout according to a new FIFPro report into players’ workload, which states that the Manchester United playmaker is one of the most “overused” players in the world.
The Portuguese star is a regular for club and country, and has barely missed a game ever since joining United from Sporting Lisbon in January 2020.
He has already racked up 90 appearances for the club in just over 20 months as a United player, with his importance to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side already well established.
In 2020-21, his only full English season to date, Fernandes played in all but one of United’s Premier League games, as well as all six Champions League group games and all nine matches in the club’s run to the Europa League final, where they lost to Villarreal.
Fernandes also played in three of United’s four FA Cup ties and three of their four games in the Carabao Cup, meaning that in total he featured in 58 of the club’s 61 matches across the campaign.
FIFPro – the international federation of professional footballers – say that such a workload is too much, especially when it coincides with a packed calendar of international matches, with Fernandes featuring for Portugal at Euro 2020 at the end of his packed season.
In a new report which aims to highlights the physical pressure on players, Fernandes is used as a case study for the rigours of playing matches across the UEFA calendar.
The report states that: “There were several months in Bruno Fernandes’ calendar that had both a high match volume and a very high critical zone minutes percentage.
“In fact, between November 2020 and April 2021, his share of minutes in the critical zone did not once drop below 68 per cent and was close to 100 per cent on multiple occasions.
“This was a very intense stretch of sustained high workload.”
Referring to a graph which shows Fernandes’ performance data back to his days with Sporting, the report continues: “The graph clearly shows that the player experienced periods like this before, when playing for Sporting CP in Portugal, but never in so many months in quick succession.
“At Manchester United FC Fernandes became one of the most ‘overused’ players in world football.”
“This game [third-place play-off] is just a money game, we have to be honest about it,” said Courtois after his side lost to Belgium.
“This game, we play it because for UEFA it’s extra money and an extra game on TV, for us… okay it’s a good game because it’s against Italy.
“But look how much both teams changed their line-ups, if both teams had been in the final it would have been other players playing, so this just shows that we play too many games.”