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Effective playing time: records per club and league

The effective playing time of a football match greatly varies according to league and club. According to the exclusive InStat data on 35 European competitions, during current season, the highest percentage of effective playing time was measured in the Swedish top division (on average 59.7% of minutes per match). At the opposite is the Czech league (50.2%). The data at both league and club level are available in the 272th edition of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post.

The findings reveal great discrepancies per continental area. The higher values recorded in Northern and Western Europe reflect more open styles of play and a greater player discipline. Among the five major European championships, the German Bundesliga (57.1%) has the highest effective playing time, while the Spanish Liga has the lowest (53.3%).

At club level, the record percentage of effective playing time was measured for the matches of the Swedish side GIF Sundvall (63.2%). AZ Alkmaar (62,9%) and Helsingborgs (62,8%) also are in the top three. At the other extreme are three Spanish teams: Alcorcón (45,8%), Getafe (45,9%) and Rayo Vallecano (46,2%). The highest values for big-5 league clubs were recorded for Bayern Munich (62.0%), Olympique Lyonnais (61.5%) and Paris St-Germain (60.7%).

Best training clubs: exclusive 2019 rankings

Which teams train the most professional footballers? As every year, the CIES Football Observatory has established the rankings of the best training clubs for players active in the big-5, as well as for footballers in 31 European top divisions. Real Madrid and Partizan Belgrade head the tables. The top 60s are available in issue number 271 of the Weekly Post.

For big-5 league players, Real Madrid (39 footballers trained, +3 compared to last year) outranks Barcelona (34, same number) and Olympique Lyonnais (30, -5). At the level of the 31 top divisions, Partizan Belgrade (75 players trained, +6 with respect to last year) outranks AFC Ajax (72, -5) and Sporting Clube Portugal (63, +5). The top 50s rankings for 2018 are available here.

Following UEFA definition, training clubs are teams where footballers played for at least three seasons between the ages of 15 and 21. The percentage of minutes played by club-trained footballers in all of the teams from the 31 competitions studied is available in the CIES Football Observatory Demographic Atlas. In addition, more exclusive data is regularly published through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Sancho and Rodrygo most experienced youngsters

The CIES Football Observatory research team has developed an exclusive approach to measure the experience capital of footballers according to their playing time and the level of matches played. Issue number 270 of the Weekly Post presents the 50 highest figures worldwide for players born in 2000, as well as the top 50 for footballers born in or after 2001.

For players born in 2000, the Englishman Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund) outranks his countryman Ryan Sessegnon (Tottenham) and the Dutchman Kik Pierie (AFC Ajax). The second highest figure outside of the big-5 European leagues was measured for the Danish Mikkel Damsgaard (Nordsjaelland), while that for footballers playing outside of Europe was recorded for the Venezuelan Cristian Casséres (New York Red Bulls).

Rodrygo Goes (Real Madrid) heads the table for players born in or after 2001. The Brazilian prodigy ranks in the top 10 also by considering footballers born in 2000: 8th. The Paraguayan Fernando Cardozo (Boavista) is the second most experienced U19 player, while at third position is a 2002-born footballer: Adam Hložek (Sparta Praha). The youngest player in the lists is the 16-year-old midfielder Daniel Leyva (Seattle Sounders & Tacoma Defiance).

Monthly Report shows increase of loans in the big-5

The 48th Monthly Report of the CIES Football Observatory analyses the evolution of the number and characteristics of footballers having played on loan for teams of the five major European championships during the last decade. It shows that clubs from these leagues take more and more players on loan: from 2.62 per club and season between 2009 and 2014, up to 3.09 between 2014 and 2019 (+18%). In 2018/2019, footballers on loan played a record number of minutes in the big-5: 11.5%.

This evolution is notably explained by the tendency of wealthy teams (Manchester City, Chelsea, Juventus, etc.) to put under contract an increasing number of footballers with a sufficient sporting level to play in the major European leagues. This puts other clubs in a greater state of dependency when making up their squads, thus increasing their likelihood to take players on loan.

The study also shows that loans constitute in most of the cases a step towards a definitive departure. Indeed, only 29.6% of footballers lent to big-5 league clubs between 2009/10 and 2018/19 return to their owner team at the end of the loan period. In 27% of the occurrences, they were loaned again, while in the remaining 43.4% of cases they were transferred on a permanent basis to another team.

Regulation makes sense in avoiding the misuse of loan strategies orientated not towards a legitimate sporting logic to develop the potential of a young player on which the loaning team really counts, but rather towards an economic logic that aims to generate profits from the transfer market or a political logic aiming at exercising undue influence on rival clubs. In order to be effective, these measures should be implemented in parallel to the regulation of the questions of buy-back options (recompra) and the multi-ownership of clubs.

Ball possession: record figures in 35 European leagues

The partnership with the football data company InStat allows the CIES Football Observatory to present exclusive analysis on the technical performance of teams from 35 European competitions. Issue number 269 of the Weekly Post highlights domestic league matches during which a team had the highest percentage of ball possession (calculated out of effective playing time). The record figure for current season was measured for Fulham against Millwall on the 21st August: 78.7%.

The loss with the highest possession was recorded for Tottenham against Newcastle: 74.8% on the 25th August (0-1). Apart from Fulham and Tottenham, Shakhtar Donetsk (in two away matches), Paris St-Germain, Celtic FC, Borussia Dortmund, Ludogorets Razgrad, FK Partizan (also in a game away) and RB Salzburg are in the top ten positions of the rankings.

The Weekly Post presents the top 10 possession figures for each of the 35 championships analysed. In addition, the freshly updated CIES & InStat Performance Atlas presents additional data on six key technical indicators referring to defence, possession and attack. By clicking on teams, the tool allows users accessing exclusive statistics for up to the last 10 domestic league matches played. Please contact us for more information about the wide array of possibilities offered by subscribing to InStat.

Stability: Manchester City and Liverpool focus on continuity

Issue number 268 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post presents the percentage of domestic league minutes played by footballers signed at the start of the season for all of the big-5 league clubs. Last Champions League finalists, Tottenham (5.0%) and Liverpool (8.3%), as well as Manchester City (7.7%), are among the 14 teams where new recruits played less than one tenth of minutes.

The figures for Manchester United and Chelsea are much higher: 25.8% and 33.6% respectively. Among Champions League participants, only LOSC Lille fielded new signings for a greater percentage of minutes than Chelsea: 42.5%. The highest proportion in the big-5 was measured for Fiorentina (69.5%), a club recently taken over by a new wealthy owner.

The most stable teams are to be found in the Premier League, where new recruits played so far only 15.7% of minutes (maximum 50.4% at Aston Villa). At the opposite end of the table is the Italian Serie A: 29.6% (minimum 5.5% for Atalanta). The averages measured in the other three leagues of the big-5 are 22.7% for Bundesliga, 24.0% for the Liga (maximum 54.3% for Sevilla) and 26.7% for Ligue 1.

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