If you look at the football calendar today, you will find that it is quite congested with fixtures. Modern footballers travel all over the world in the span of a few days to play matches for both club and country. Oftentimes, top players compete in more than 50 matches per year, and that is for just their club team.
It may seem strange, but in the 1980s, football was much different and there was a “wild west” atmosphere at the time. Club teams played on back-to-back times regularly. During the 1980, 1982, 1983, and 1986 English First Division seasons, Liverpool (England’s strongest, most dominant team) played on consecutive days multiple times. Today, clubs have the luxury of playing with large squads. Back then, teams were rather small. Of course, the style of the game is far different for modern footballers and more taxing.
Mark Hughes plays for Wales and Bayern Munich… on the same day
In November 1987, Mark Hughes moved to Bayern Munich on loan from Barcelona — where he had had a terrible time following a transfer from Manchester United. After debuting with a goal and an assist, Hughes was set to play for Bayern Munich in a midweek DFB Pokal match versus Borussia Monchengladbach. However, there was one problem, Hughes had to play for the Wales national team on the same day in a Euro 1988 qualifier versus Czechoslovakia in Prague.
On the day of the games, Hughes played for Wales in a 2-0 defeat to Czechoslovakia. Then, rushed out of the changing room to a car with its engine revving. After slaloming through the Czech countryside to the airport, Hughes boarded a private jet organised by Bayern Munich Sporting Director Uli Hoeness.
The private jet took Hughes to Munich, where Hoeness’s Porsche was waiting for the plane to land. The forward rushed off the plane, jumped into the car and within minutes was at Munich’s Olympic Stadium for the cup match. Hugues came on as a sub to everyone’s surprise and scored an incredible volley to take the game into extra-time where Bayern Munich won.