In England, the festive season offers a feast of football for when you’ve had enough food and drink to get you through until roughly the same time next year. This is wonderful for the fans, many of whom will escape the Christmas hangover of Boxing Day to attend a game.
However, the players will have to attend training on Christmas Day, and will be unable to eat their way through a tin of Quality Street like you and I.
Spare a thought for them, driving home in their Ferraris while you start on your second bottle of Cava. Think of their finely tuned diet, set by trained nutritionists, as you tuck into your third helping of turkey.
Imagine the faces of their wives/girlfriends/mistresses as they open the little box from Tiffany & Co, while your significant other ponders where she is going to keep her new ironing board cover. Think of their children, whizzing round the grounds of their home counties estate on four-wheel drive quad bikes, while your kids fight over whose turn it is to play with the Xbox you saved up to buy them.
Picture Sir Alex Ferguson, unwrapping yet another bottle of red wine sent to him by his old pal Jose Mourinho, and spare a thought for the cook if his red cabbage isn’t just right. Just think of poor Rafa Benitez, having to serve Christmas dinner to his whole family single-handedly.
Imagine Mario Balotelli trying to work out why it’s always him who loses at charades, and imagine the disappointment on Fernando Torres’ face when his presents aren’t passed to him in exactly the way he wanted.
If the season of goodwill doesn’t bring you everything you wished for, just think of how many seasons have passed without a Premier League winners medal for Steven Gerrard. If being surrounded by your family starts to become too much for you to cope with, cast your mind back to Christmas 2011 and imagine the Giggs household.
When the mince pies are all gone and the refuse sacks are filled with shiny paper, while you sit and watch Christmas specials on TV ad infinitum, there will be footballers running around in the cold for an hour or two. Spare a thought for them.
Merry Christmas everyone.