Players would cut pay to reduce football schedule - Carvajal

Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal has said players would be open to taking a pay cut if it meant playing fewer games, reducing their workload and avoiding injuries.

Madrid host Napoli in the Champions League on Wednesday with eight players absent through injury -- Thibaut Courtois, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Éder Militão, Eduardo Camavinga, Aurélien Tchouaméni, Luka Modric, Vinícius Júnior and Arda Güler -- and many pointing to the packed fixture list as a contributory factor.

- Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

"For a top player playing at a top club, the calendar is very demanding," Carvajal told a news conference on Tuesday. "With the new Club World Cup, we won't ever get a summer off. I agree with [coach Carlo Ancelotti] and other people who've said there are too many games. So many injuries isn't a coincidence.

"The players are the ones who play, and it's hard to reach an agreement between everyone. It's complicated. But what's a reality is there are lots of injuries, and I think a lot of them are due to the calendar."

Spain international Carvajal has himself suffered frequent injuries in recent years but has found career-best form this season, making 12 starts in LaLiga and three Champions League appearances.

"A lot of people say 'why don't [players] cut their salaries?'" Carvajal added. "We haven't said we wouldn't. If we had to earn less and play fewer games, it wouldn't be a problem. You don't see players at their best, and the games are dropping in quality, that's the reality."

Despite their injuries, Madrid are top of LaLiga and lead Champions League Group C with four wins out of four.

Brazil forward Rodrygo has starred this month, with five goals in his last three games after facing criticism for his lack of scoring earlier in the campaign.

"This is Real Madrid, you don't score for three games [in a row] and you get criticism," Carvajal said. "I'm happy for him, that the pressure is off now. When he starts scoring, you can see the effect on the team. I hope it keeps going."

Star midfielder Jude Bellingham scored against Cadiz on Sunday to make it a record 14 goals in his first 15 games for the club, after recovering from a dislocated shoulder.

"I think Bellingham is really intelligent, professional, serious and mature," Ancelotti said. "But the most important part is he's a fantastic player, and a fantastic player can adapt anywhere, in any country."