Who has played the most games this season, Real Madrid or Manchester City?
Both Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti have discussed fatigue and the build-up of fixtures. We look at both club’s hectic schedules this season.
It’s been a long, gruelling season for both Manchester City and Real Madrid, one of whom will bow out of the Champions League later this evening, the other will have another game, a final, to add to their packed agenda.
Real Madrid knew they were in for a season that would be busier than usual - after being crowned champions of Europe last year, they automatically added an extra two tournaments to their schedule - the UEFA Super Cup back in August and the Club World Cup in February. Carlo Ancelotti’s team have been fighting in six fronts, have won three trophies already and have a chance to win a fourth - if they can successfully defend their Champions League crown.
City haven’t had much of a chance to catch their breath either. Their campaign started even earlier than Madrid’s. Guardiola’s team faced Liverpool in the Community Shield at Wembley in July - one week before the 2022/23 Premier League kicked off. Since then, they have persistently been chipping away at Arsenal’s lead, reducing the gap to two points by the end of April and knocking the Gunners off top spot a week later. As things stand, the treble is still on the cards.
City have three fixtures left to get through before the Premier League reaches its climax on 28 May - next up are Chelsea, followed by their game in hand against Brighton then Brentford away on the final day. After that, Haaland and Co. will have five days to prepare for the FA Cup final - a Manchester derby at Wembley on 3 June. If City manage to beat Real Madrid at the Etihad tonight, they will add another final to their calendar and their season will end on 10 June - almost 11 months before it started.
On top of that, this season has been an unusual one as we’ve had a World Cup slap in the middle. Real Madrid had 13 first team players representing their national teams at the World Cup while City had 16 players on duty in Qatar.
So, ahead of tonight’s semi-final return leg, who has played the most games so far, Man City or Real Madrid? And how many games could both potentially still play?
Manchester City games played so far
Games left to play
Five games left to play, six if they make the Champions League final. Total No. of games: 60 - 61 if they make the UCL final.
Real Madrid games played so far
Games left to play
Five left to play, six if they make the Champions League final. Total No. of games: 61 - 62 if they make the UCL final.
Curiously, the two players who have racked up the most minutes on-field during the marathon of fixtures for both sides are outfield players, not goalkeepers. Vinicius has featured the most for club and country with 4,489 minutes of playing time so far including four games at the World Cup and three international friendlies with Brazil. He is one of three Madrid players with over 4,000 minutes of playing time this season and they could soon be joined by Militão.
For City, midfielder Rodri has clocked 4,104 minutes on the pitch. The Spaniard has played in all but one of City’s Premier League games (he missed the Manchester derby in October) and has had a lot of commitments with the national team - two Euro 2024 qualifiers, three Nations League matches, four appearances at the World Cup and one international friendly.
Manchester City players with the most minutes in 2022/23
Real Madrid players with the most minutes in 2022/23
The overload of fixtures and the mental and physical fatigue that comes with it has been discussed by both Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti in recent weeks. The City manager looks at it as a question of mind over matter: “Winning helps,” he explained. “If you win, mental recovery is quicker and better. We’re still alive... I have always believed that human beings have incredible resources to move forward and keep going. When you believe, ‘I am exhausted, I cannot any more’, you can. You can. As long as you are still in competitions. The moment you get knocked out of a competition, then yes, there’s no energy, you have to refresh for next season and get back again. You can be tired, that’s normal. I’ve said many times to my players, you’re tired, I know! It’s normal for them to be tired. But at the same time, if your mental desire is in the right position, the human being can have incredible energy - energy that you don’t even imagine you have”.