Two European winners of the FIFA World Cup have given their feedback on the next iterations of football’s global schedule, with both Marco Materazzi and Sami Khedira endorsing a schedule with momentous matches and also prioritising a break for the players.
Materazzi picked up football’s biggest prize of all with Italy in 2006 with Sami Khedira part of the Germany squad that became world champions eight years later, giving both weighty experience to share as part of a wide-ranging consultation process being undertaken on the new calendar, with nothing currently agreed after 2024.
“I think being able to rest better and travel less and having the opportunity to spend more time with the club could be useful for players,” said Materazzi. “When you represent your country, the matches are more important, they get more exciting because there’s more adrenaline, more atmosphere and more desire to compete with the strongest [teams].”
The imperative of player protection is one of the principal themes behind the status quo being unsustainable with Khedira using his near-decade of international experience to give his own perspective on the need to prioritise matches that matter.
“The fans want to see meaningful matches and it’s the same for the players,” added the former Germany midfielder. “We don’t have to put more less meaningful matches in the calendar because the players have so many games and they travel so much. If I had a tournament or the [UEFA] Champions League, or the championship: it’s like the most important, and friendlies [were] always a bit annoying, let’s say.”