Best clubs for young players: global rankings

Issue number 333 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post presents the percentage of domestic league minutes by footballers who had not yet turned 21 at the time of the matches played this season for 999 clubs from 71 top divisions that are currently running worldwide. The highest percentages were recorded for the Danish side FC Nordsjælland (48.9%) among the 30 major European competitions and the Singaporean team Young Lions (47.1%) for the clubs surveyed outside of Europe.

At big-5 league level, the highest figures were measured for Borussia Dortmund (28.5%), followed by three French Ligue 1 teams: OGC Nice (24.3%), AS Monaco (24.1%) and Stade Rennais (20.7%). The greatest proportion of minutes in the other major championships were registered for Wolverhampton (16.2%), FC Barcelona (15.0%) and Hellas Verona (11.7%). At the opposite end, seven teams did not field any U21 player, among which Inter.

The highest percentage overall was observed for FK Metta (88.0%), the team of the Riga’s University of Latvia. U21 footballers played a majority of minutes in two other Latvian top division teams: Valmiera FC and BFC Daugavpils. Ecuador’s club Independiente del Valle (34.3%) and Alger-based Paradou AC (27.8%) lead the table for America and Africa respectively. The average age on the pitch for clubs in the 31 main European leagues are available in the CIES Football Observatory Demographic Atlas.

% of minutes by under-21 footballers

Top division leagues worldwide, current season until 06/04/2021. Age at the time of the matches.