The CIES Football Observatory research group is happy to disclose the 400th edition of its Weekly Post, presenting the 50 leagues where 2022 FIFA World Cup footballers have played the most senior matches up until their 23rd birthday. The German Bundesliga leads the table with more than 5,000 games played in the competition by 99 footballers present at the World Cup, representing 25 different national teams.
More World Cup participants (110 players from 26 selections) played in the English Premier League until turning 23, but for fewer matches and minutes than footballers having developed their career in the German Bundesliga and the Spanish Liga. The English Championship is the best ranked second tier competition (seventh), while the Italian Serie A (eighth) tops the table for leagues from an association not qualified for the World Cup.
Produced in collaboration with FIFA High Performance Department, the 80th CIES Football Observatory Monthly Report presents more exclusive data on the development paths of the 2022 FIFA World Cup players. It notably shows that the latter played senior league minutes in no less than 763 teams until they turned 23, of which 26.4% below top domestic league levels. This finding reveals the importance of taking care of all the sporting and economic levels of the football ecosystem to allow players, even the most talented ones, to develop their full potential.
Development league ranking of 2022 FIFA men's World Cup players
Official matches and minutes played until the age of 23 by World Cup players