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Rúben Dias, Frenkie de Jong and Lionel Messi have the highest workload

10 June 2021
Rúben Dias and Frenkie de Jong are the two players participating in UEFA EURO 2020 who have played the most minutes during the 2020/2021 season so far.

Lionel Messi has the highest workload of all Copa America players who are featured in FIFPRO’s Player Workload Monitoring platform, which includes 265 players from 43 domestic leagues.

EURO 2020 and the Copa América will kick-off on Friday and Sunday respectively. Especially players in Europe have played an intense season with many games and often too little rest, which raises risk of injury and poses a threat to their level of performance.

Dias played 5,891 minutes in 65 matches already this season for Manchester City and Portugal. De Jong (Barcelona and the Netherlands) played 54 minutes fewer than Dias. On average both had just over four days of rest between two matches.

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Lionel Messi and Frenkie de Jong

FIFPRO recommends at least five days of rest and recovery time between two appearances to protect the players’ health, limit injury risk and prevent burnout.

Of the ten EURO 2020 players with the highest workload, only two averaged at least five days of rest between matches: Callum McGregor and Péter Gulacsi. However, the latter only had a seven-day break between this season and previous season: the shortest of all top ten players.

FIFPRO recommends that players have a mandatory five-week period in between seasons that includes three weeks away from football and two weeks of pre-season training. Only three of the ten European players had a three-week break at least.

Most minutes - Players at EURO 2020
Player (Country/club) Minutes Matches Average rest Off-season
Rúben Dias (Por/Man City) 5,892 65 4.4 days 9 days
Frenkie de Jong (Neth/Barcelona) 5,837 65 4.3 days 14 days
Callum McGregor (Sco/Celtic) 5,709 66 5.0 days 103 days*
Andrew Robertson (Sco/Liverpool) 5,694 63 4.6 days 19 days
Gianluigi Donnaruma (Ita/Milan) 5,654 60 4.6 days 24 days
Youri Tielemans (Bel/Leicester) 5,642 64 4.5 days 20 days
Bruno Fernandes (Por/Man Utd) 5,555 68 4.1 days 13 days
Harry Maguire (Eng/Man Utd) 5,531 59 4.1 days 22 days
Georginio Wijnaldum (Neth/Liverpool) 5,258 66 4.4 days 19 days
Peter Gulácsi (Hun/Leipzig) 5,163 55 5.2 days 7 days

Copa América

The conditions for the South American players in the sample were slightly better than their European colleagues. However, we have to take into account that several national team matches were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic on the continent. If those matches would have been played, then more players would have had less than five days of rest between matches.

Most minutes - Players at Copa America
Player (Country/club) Minutes Matches Average rest Off-season
Lionel Messi (Arg/Barcelona) 5,106 55 5.0 days 24 days
Roberto Firmino (Bra/Liverpool) 4,144 57 5.0 days 19 days
Ederson (Bra/Man City) 4,815 51 5.2 days 35 days
Jefferson Lima (Col/Bournemouth) 4,383 55 5.2 days 22 days
Tomás Rincón (Ven/Torino) 3,778 46 6.3 days 20 days
Miguel Almirón (Par/Newcastle) 3,376 44 6.3 days 25 days
Luis Suárez (Uru/Atlético) 3,523 43 6.0 days 21 days

* The Scottish Premier League season 2019/2020 was cancelled in May 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.