Soccer Schedule Is Too Demanding

James RiggioContributor IJuly 18, 2010

PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 02:  Kaka of Brazil is dejected after being knocked out of the tournament during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Quarter Final match between Netherlands and Brazil at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on July 2, 2010 in Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Jose Mourinho has already opened training camp as he takes on his latest adventure as manager of Real Madrid.

But obviously, several players are missing as they are still on vacation following the World Cup. Those are players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka, whose teams were eliminated earlier in the tournament.

But Mourinho’s group of Spaniards who played in the World Cup will either not be available for quite some time, or they will have very short vacations.

Real Madrid is scheduled to be in Los Angeles to play the Galaxy at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Aug. 7.

However, it remains to be seen if the likes of Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, and Xabi Alonso will be available to travel to Tinseltown on official business. The World Cup final was just July 11.

Barcelona, which has even a larger group of world champions, opens its training camp on Monday with 28 players, 17 of which are from the Barcelona B squad.

The squad is expected to take part in a tour of Asia this summer with matches scheduled for early August.

It, too, will probably have to play with most of its reserves as its star players get in some much-needed vacation and a chance to perhaps heal any nagging injuries.

While perhaps there is no way to fix it, the international soccer calendar certainly does not favor the top players.

Unlike in other sports, where athletes generally have at least a month off, this does not apply to international soccer stars who play for top clubs and national teams.

Four years ago, Gianluca Zambrotta was one of the stars on Italy’s World Cup-winning side that defeated France in the final on July 9 in Berlin.

Zambrotta was in Los Angeles training with his new club at the time, Barcelona, on Aug. 4. Lilian Thuram, who also played in the World Cup final, but for France, joined Zambrotta just a day later, as he too was transferred to Barcelona from Italian club Juventus.

This summer, clubs like Juventus are being faced with difficult circumstances.

With the transfer market in full force and the fate of many players being uncertain, Juventus will have to play an official Europa League Cup match July 29, a little more than a month after Italy was eliminated from the World Cup.

Had Italy gone further in the World Cup, Juventus would have had no choice but to field a number of young players and those who did not play in the World Cup.

It is obvious that only the strongest survive in this sport as the top players face league matches, national cup matches, Champions League and Europa Cup matches, to go along with representing their national teams.

So the next time a superstar might look sluggish, one might want to take out this article and remember these players are human.