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Guardiola: We are killing the players

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has voiced his dismay with FIFA's plans to expand the World Cup to 48 teams and believes the busy calendar is going to "kill the players".

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has made no secret of his desire to expand the World Cup from 32 countries, with plans for 16 groups of three teams the latest proposal to be mooted.

However, Guardiola feels there are already too many games and says the focus should be on quality rather than quantity. 

"It is a problem all around the world. Now they are talking about a World Cup of 48 teams. We are going to kill the players," Guardiola told reporters.

"We are looking at the quantity and forget the quality. The players do not rest, they have a lot of pressure. There are more competitions, more games. 

"But we accept the decision. FIFA will decide and we accept the decision and if we are not happy we go home. They are focusing on more and more and more [games], but we have to think about the quality.

"I am thinking about the players. They have to breathe, to break, to enjoy. This kind of thing is impossible.

"Because we finish the season, then after one week the World Cup, then after three weeks we go to the pre-season, we go to China, the States, Australia. Then you come back and it is 11 months again and [then] it is the European Championship. You do this for 10 or 12 years and we do not think about the players."

Guardiola accepts that more games may be an inevitability and called on the rule makers to be creative in their approach to protect the players, citing allowing more substitutes as one way of doing so.

"For that reason there have to be huge squads, more money for the clubs to spend," he added.

"It is just three substitutions now, why can we not make it four, five or six? All the players are involved more than before, the coaches can use different tactics. [There would be] less injuries, more open games, everything would be better.

"But, okay, FIFA has other opinions.

"We have to protect the players and we do not do that. From players today, we are demanding too much, from my point of view."