Issue number 292 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post ranks countries worldwide according to the number of their representatives having played professional football abroad during the calendar year 2019. Brazil is at the top of the table (1,600 players, of which 74.6% active in top division leagues) ahead of France (1,027, 74.0%) and Argentina (972, 75.5%).
In total, 186 national associations had at least one player expatriated in the 141 leagues from 93 countries included in the sample. However, altogether, Brazil, France and Argentina provided up to almost one quarter of the total foreign workforce in global football (22.5%). Nigeria is the main African exporting nation (399 players abroad), while Japan is the principal Asian one (161).
The CIES Football Observatory Atlas of Migration presents the main destinations for each origin. This exclusive tool notably reveals that Portugal is by far the main destination for Brazilians, ahead of Italy and Japan. The three main destinations for the French expatriates are England, Belgium and Luxembourg, while those of the Argentineans are Chile, Mexico and Spain.
Number of expatriates, by country of origin (2019)
Footballers having played abroad during the calendar year 2019. [Divisions 1]: Active in top division leagues.