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PFA chief warns football is at risk of losing Jude Bellingham

Football risks losing young stars such as Jude Bellingham and Vinicius Junior to burnout, according to players’ union FIFPRO.

PFA chief executive Maheta Molango has expressed concern for player welfare with the football calendar set to undergo another unnecessary addition of football matches.

Per FIFPRO’s 45-page study, Bellingham has played nearly five times as many professional minutes as David Beckham had at the same age.

The report highlights the players’ demanding schedule, arguing that the FIFA-controlled calendar is overloaded and unworkable.

Real Madrid midfielder Bellingham is a prime example. By the start of this tournament, the 20-year-old had already played a staggering 18,486 minutes.

This dwarfs the numbers of other English players at the same age – Beckham (3,929 minutes), Frank Lampard (6,987), Steven Gerrard (7,034), Michael Owen (11,719) and Wayne Rooney (15,481).

Molango also pointed to Bellingham’s teammate Vinicius Jr as another concern.

The 23-year-old Brazilian forward has made more than double the appearances of his compatriot Ronaldinho at the same age.

“We need to protect the stars of the show,” Molango said (via the Times). “You get a Jude Bellingham once every generation. You need to protect him. If we don’t protect him, we are going to lose him.”

Molango sees the expansion of tournaments and competitions as a major issue. He believes FIFA’s new Club World Cup format is a tipping point.

The report also highlights the excessive travel players endure. Tottenham Hotspur defender Cristian Romero has clocked 139,000km in air travel, while his teammate Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez has covered over 122,000km.

Man City could potentially play 86 games next season if they participate in the Club World Cup.

Molango has proposed a limit of six consecutive weeks – weekend followed by midweek fixture – for players.

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