Kylian Mbappe and Robert Lewandowski raised concerns about FIFA’s proposal to hold a World Cup every two years, citing the physical strain the move could have on the players taking part.
The idea, backed by FIFA president Gianni Infantino and global football development chief Arsene Wenger, proposes the change as part of a revamp of the football calendar.
At a summit last week, the governing body of world football told representatives of its 211 member associations that an additional £ 3.3 billion in revenue would be generated from holding a two-year World Cup.
But the concept was met with fierce resistance, particularly from UEFA and South American governing body CONMEBOL, who believe the change would devalue the competition.
Speaking at the Globe Soccer Awards in Dubai, Paris Saint-Germain and France forward Mbappe, who scored four goals to help his country win the tournament in Russia three and a half years ago, said the proposal could undermine the prestige of the tournament and put further pressure on the players.
Mbappe said: “My opinion is that the World Cup is the World Cup, it’s a special thing because it’s every four years. If you do it every two years, it can start to be normal and I mean it’s not normal.
“It’s something incredible, maybe you play games [in a World Cup] once in your life. I agree with Robert when it comes to performance, we already play 60 games a year, you have the Europeans, you have the World Cup, now we have the Nations League, so many competitions.
“We are happy to play but when it is too much, it is too much. We have to recover, we have to be calm.
“If people want to have quality in the game … if they just want to see some games on TV, of course, we’ll play.
But if they want to see quality matches, see emotions, see these kinds of things that also make the beauty of football, we must respect the health of the players. “
Bayern Munich and Pole Lewandowski cited player well-being as a concern amid a busy schedule of international and club matches.
The 33-year-old added: “We have many games every year, many difficult weeks, not just the matches but the preparation for the season, the preparation for the big tournaments.
“If you want to offer something special, something different, we also need a break.
“If we have a World Cup every two years, the expectation is that the time the players play at a high level will decrease … It is physically and mentally impossible.”
The “Maradona Award for Best Goal Scorer of the Year” and “TikTok Fans Player of the Year” were awarded to Lewandowski at the ceremony in Dubai, while Mbappe was awarded the Best Men’s Player of the Year award.