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Júnior Negão ahead of Ronaldo in 2020 top scorer list

Issue number 306 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post presents the 127 footballers having scored at least 10 goals in 94 top division leagues worldwide during the calendar year 2020. The 33-year-old Brazilian Júnior Negão from the South Korean team of Ulsan Hyundai tops the list with 24 goals before last week-end, two more than the 35-year-old Portuguese superstar Ronaldo from Juventus (25 vs 24 after the week-end).

By weighting goals with the sporting level of the competition in which they were scored using the exclusive CIES Football Observatory coefficient, Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) is at the top of the rankings ahead of Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern), Erling Haland (Borussia Dortmund) and Mohamed Salah (Liverpool).

With 15 domestic league goals in only 1’153 minutes, the young Norwegian prodigy Erling Haland has the lowest minutes per goal rate among big-5 league footballers: 76.9. Cristiano Ronaldo (24 goals in 1784 minutes, 81.1) and Andrej Kramarić from Hoffenheim (10 goals in 835 minutes, 83.5) complete the podium of this specific table.

English Premier League clubs rarely field young players

Issue number 305 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post ranks 80 top divisions worldwide according to the percentage of minutes by 21-year-old or younger players since the 2015/16 (or 2015) season. The lowest percentage among the five major European leagues was recorded in the English Premier League (7.1% of minutes), while the highest was measured in the French Ligue 1 (15.4%).

Two Baltic countries are at the top of the overall rankings: Estonia (31.1%) and Latvia (27.2%). The Slovenian top division complete the podium: 26.4%. The Dutch Eredivisie is the most competitive championship in the top 10 (8th, 23.8%). The highest figures for leagues in non-UEFA associations were observed in Panama (7th, 23.9%), Venezuela (13th, 22.0%) and Uruguay (20th, 18.0%).

Since 2015, Chinese Super League clubs fielded 21-year-old or younger players for the fewest percentage of minutes among all of the competitions surveyed: 3.9%. This very low proportion indicates that China is not yet ready to become a football power as local talents struggle to gain experience. The second lowest figure was recorded in the Turkish Süper Lig (4.1%).

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What about the home advantage after the COVID-19 pandemic?

Home teams traditionally win more matches than away ones. This is often explained by the support of local fans. Issue number 304 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post analyses the difference in the percentage of home wins before and after the COVID-19 pandemic in 63 leagues worldwide. It reveals that the home advantage persisted without spectators, even though in a less marked way.

From January 2015 to March 2020, home teams won 44.3% of matches in the leagues surveyed. After the outbreak of the pandemic and the closure of stadiums to the public, this figure went slightly down to 42.2%. To different extents, the percentage of home wins decreased in 41 of the 63 leagues studied. The average goal difference per match diminished from +0.31 to +0.24.

The greatest decrease in the percentage of home wins was recorded in the Greek top division (-15.1%), followed by the Austrian and German ones. At the opposite end, in the Swiss top-flight league, home teams won a significantly higher percentage of matches after the closure of stadiums to the public than before: +8.5%.

Global study of penalty cards in professional football

The brand new CIES Football Observatory Monthly Report compares 87 top divisions worldwide from the point of view of the number of yellow and red cards given by referees between 2015 and 2020. The study highlights great differences according to country and reveals the existence of significant correlations between the amount of cards per match and many socio-economic indicators for nations.

The number of cards varies considerably according to the confederation of belonging of the leagues studied. At one extreme, in South America (CONMEBOL), referees handed out on average 5.83 cards per match. This figure is 45% higher than that observed in the 15 Asian (AFC) leagues included in the study (4.00). Invariably, away teams receive more cards than home ones.

The gross domestic product (GDP) and the Human Development Index (HDI) are inversely correlated to the quantity of cards. This indicates that the matches played in nations whose inhabitants enjoy a higher standard of living and education are less fraught, or at least are less sanctioned by the referee corps.

A significant positive statistical correlation was also measured between the amount of cards and the homicide rate per country. The violence present in a society thus seems to be transposed to football. In addition, the more citizens consider that the level of corruption in their country is high, the more referees are likely to hand out cards. This result could reflect the existence of a social climate where distrust and suspicion are rife.

These findings show that football matches take place under different dynamics according to the social, economic, political and cultural context of the country in which they are played. They confirm the very strong link between football and society and reveal the importance of taking into account the specifics of countries for a fine analysis of the game even in a context of globalisation.

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Extend now! Top transfer value increases with one more year of contract

The 303rd edition of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post presents the big-5 league players whose transfer value would increase the most if their contract with the club of belonging was extended for an additional year. The most positive gap overall was recorded for Jadon Sancho (+€43M), ahead of Kylian Mbappé (+€39M) and Lionel Messi (+€35M).

With two years of contract remaining, the transfer value of Jadon Sancho according to the exclusive CIES Football Observatory algorithm is currently just above €180M. A one-year contract extension would drive this figure up to €223M. If Kylian Mbappé extended his contract with Paris St-Germain from June 2022 to June 2023, his estimated transfer value would increase from €242M to €281M.

Lionel Messi leads the table among players with only one year of contract remaining ahead of Georginio Wijnaldum and Ferran Torres. By renewing their contracts for an additional year, their transfer values would increase from about €80M to €115M for Messi, from €44M to €64M for Wijnaldum, as well as from €42M to €61M for Torres.

Bayern are ball movement champions

Issue number 302 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post analyses the InStat data on ball movement in kilometres during possession phases by teams from 35 European competitions for the seasons 2018/19 and 2019/20 (2018 and 2019 for summer leagues). Bayern Munich (12.7 km per match) outranks Manchester City (12.5 km) and Liverpool (12.3 km).

Bayern Munich players achieve on average slightly fewer passes per game than those of Manchester City (705 versus 722), but their distance is longer (18.0 metres versus 17.3). Liverpool players only make 654 passes per match (9th position), but their length (18.8 meters) is much greater than that measured for the vast majority of teams in the top positions of the rankings.

The Greek side of Panionios is at the bottom of the table with a ball circulation distance of about 6.8 kilometres per game. Cardiff City is anti-penultimate with the lowest number of successful passes overall (326). The highest average passes lengths were recorded for two Scottish teams: Livingston (23.1 meters) and Hamilton Academical (22.4). Contact us to know more about InStat data and services.

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