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Player injuries: Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes plays most minutes in world football

Bruno Fernandes in action for Manchester United during their defeat by Crystal Palace in September

Bruno Fernandes in action for Manchester United during their defeat by Crystal Palace in SeptemberFernandes replaced Harry Maguire as Manchester United’s captain this summer

Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes played more minutes of football than any other elite player last year, new data shows.

World players’ union Fifpro said the Portugal international, 29, played 6,666 minutes between 15 September 2022 and 15 September 2023.

The body analysed data on 1,800 playersexternal-link to illustrate the physical and mental demands top players face.

It is campaigning for changes to the football calendar to protect players.

The latest results from its Player Workload Monitoring tool show Fernandes played in 72 games over the period for club and country.

Four Manchester City players are in the top 10 for appearances made in a season in which they clinched the Treble, winning the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.

The quartet are Spain midfielder Rodri (68 games), Portugal midfielder Bernardo Silva (67), Swiss defender Manuel Akanji (66) and Argentina forward Julian Alvarez (66) – who also reached the 2022 World Cup final with his country in Qatar.

Fernandes’ United team-mate, England forward Marcus Rashford, also features in the top 10 with 66 appearances.

The tracking tool, put together with data company Football Benchmark, monitors the workloads of 1,800 elite footballers around the world – 1,500 men and 300 women.

Real Madrid and Spain goalkeeper Misa, 24, played more minutes than any other female player – 4,722 – in the time specified. Arsenal and Sweden forward Stina Blackstenius, 27, played the most back-to-back matches (35).

In the men’s game, Real Madrid and Brazil forward Rodrygo played the most back-to-back matches (54).

The latest data follows a report from Fifpro in the summer which warned of the need to protect players against “dangerous levels of fixture congestion”.

And it comes as Premier League managers warned of the impact of a relentless calendar on their players, with top-flight teams suffering lengthy injury lists only six weeks into the new season.

“Players can’t deal any more with this overload,” said Fernandes’ club boss Erik ten Hag.

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