The Annual Review notably reveals that Lionel Messi would largely break the 94-million euro transfer fee record. Estimated on the basis of an exclusive econometric model, his value is between 217 and 252 million euro. With an estimated value between 102 and 118 million, Cristiano Ronaldo would probably also break his own record.
At club level, the analysis shows that Barcelona holds the greatest assets from a player economic value perspective: 658 million euro. This figure is three times higher than that spent on signing the players used during the 2012/13 season. This reflects the extraordinary ability of the Catalan side to train, launch and add value to home-grown players.
Lionel Messi is not only the most expensive big-5 league player, but also the most decisive one for the 2012/13 season. The ranking is based on the performances for five key indicators: shooting, chance creation, take on, distribution and recovery. The Argentinean outranks Champions League winner Franck Ribéry and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The most decisive young player was Mario Götze. The new Bayern Munich signing is followed by two very promising Belgian footballers belonging to Chelsea: Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku. They definitively both deserve to have a chance to play for the London club.
The performance analysis at club level shows that Bayern Munich’s fantastic season was the result of the unmatched balance between attack, distribution and defence. The Champions League winner tops the German Bundesliga rankings for the three key team performance indicators covered by our analysis: defensive solidity, grip on the game and attacking incisiveness. No other champion was able to do so.
The 2013 Annual Review also investigates the evolution in competitive balance within leagues since 2003/04. With the exception of Italy, point gaps between teams are on the increase. This trend is particularly marked in Spain and Germany. Over the last decade, the three most successful clubs achieved more than 60% of podium ranks in all the leagues, up to 80% in Spain and England (24 out of 30).
In 2012/13, money spent in transfer fees to sign first team players was highly correlated to club results in all the leagues. All the champions were among the three biggest spenders in their respective league. This confirms the strong influence of money on success.
Without new regulatory mechanisms to improve income distribution, competitive balance will be further jeopardised by the transformation of top level clubs into global brands, their regular participation in the increasingly lucrative Champions League and investments made by wealthy owners.
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