If the Ballon d’or was awarded per position, the following big-5 league players would deserve to be named trophy winners according to their performances in 2015: Thiago Silva, Dani Alves, İlkay Gündoğan, Santi Cazorla, Mesut Özil and Lionel Messi. Issue number 130 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post presents the top 10 rankings per position, as well as the “dream teams” for both players over and under 23 years of age.
Weekly Post 130
Weekly Post 129
Current Manchester United and Manchester City squad members have played 120 national A-team matches in 2015. This is the record figure at big-5 league level. In third position is Chelsea (111), ahead of Paris St-Germain (106) and Barcelona (99). Seven out of the 10 top ranked clubs qualified for the Champions League knockout stages. The full set of results is presented in issue number 129 of the Weekly Post.
Weekly Post 128
Issue number 128 of the Weekly Post analyses the average day of birth of players for each club of the five major European leagues. In 23 teams only, this date is after July 1st. This is the average date of birth of the typical citizen. The extreme values were recorded at Fiorentina (20 April) and Southampton (11 August). This confirms the existence of a selection bias in football, which favours players born in the first months of the year.
Issue number 127 of the Weekly Post presents data on the average transfer fee invested per player fielded. Four clubs stand apart: Real Madrid (€30.7 million), Manchester City (28.3), Manchester United (27.4) and Paris St-Germain (27.1). Only in two other clubs is the average transfer expenditure for players on the pitch above €20 million: Chelsea (21.9) and Barcelona (21.3). This figure is only €2.5 million for Leicester City.
Weekly Post 126
Playing a significant number of matches from the start of a professional career is a key success factor for football players. Issue number 126 of the Weekly Post unveils the rankings of teams who played the most important role in the development of current big-5 league players. At the head of the European table is Real Madrid Castilla. Southampton contributed most to the development of English Premier League footballers.
Weekly Post 125
Issue number 125 of the Weekly Post presents the rankings of clubs who have trained the most players under contract with teams in the five major European leagues. At the top of the table is Barcelona (44 players), ahead of Olympique Lyonnais (35) and Real Madrid (34). Munich 1860 heads the rankings of non-big-5 league clubs (18 players). The second division German club outranks River Plate (17) and Lens (16).
Weekly Post 124
Issue number 124 of the Weekly Post reveals the rankings of the best performing players since the start of the big-5 league season. At the head of the tables for the five outfield positions considered are Otamendi (centre backs), Aurier (full backs), Cazorla (defensive midfielders), Özil (attacking midfielders) and Lewandowski (forwards). The rankings are based on a purely data-driven and objective methodology developed by the CIES Football Observatory research team.
Weekly Post 123
Tottenham Hotspur tops the Premier League table of clubs who fielded on average the youngest players: 24.7 years. This is the fourth lowest figure at big-5 league level after Nice (24.1), Valencia (24.5) and Bayer Leverkusen (24.5). In second and third positions in the English Premier League rankings are Liverpool (25.5 years) and Newcastle (25.6). The data for all teams is available in issue number 123 of the Weekly Post.
Weekly Post 122
Since the start of the season, 105 French footballers were fielded by foreign big-5 league clubs in domestic league matches. The second most represented origin abroad is Brazil (104 players). The most numerous contingent of French expatriates is to be found in England. Since the start of the season, 40 players from France have played in the English Premier League. All data is available in issue number 122 of the Weekly Post.
Weekly Post 121
Issue number 121 of the Weekly Post shows that Chelsea FC is currently ranked thirteen positions below the ranking that transfer expenditure in signing squad members would have suggested. This is the biggest negative gap at both English Premier League and big-5 league level. Conversely, the most positive difference so far between financial and sporting ranking was measured by Leicester City: +12.
Weekly Post 120
Issue number 120 of the Weekly Post presents the best performing outfield players since the start of the season, both in absolute terms and among U21 footballers. At the top of the absolute tables in the English Premier League are Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) for centre backs, Cédric Soares (Southampton) for full backs, Santi Cazorla (Arsenal) for central midfielders, Mesut Özil (Arsenal) for attacking midfielders and Riyad Mahrez (Leicester) for forwards.
Weekly Post 119
Issue number 119 of the Weekly Post highlights that more than 70% of transfer fees invested by big-5 league clubs during the 2015 summer transfer window were paid to other teams taking part in the five major European championships. The club who received the highest figure was AS Monaco (€202 million, add-ons included). The most positive net transfer spend was also recorded by the French Ligue 1 side (+ €121 million).