The 422nd edition of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post presents the ranking of the 100 associations with the highest number of expatriate players in 135 leagues worldwide. With a record number of 1,289 expatriates, Brazil tops the list ahead of France (1,033) and Argentina (905). Nigeria, Japan and the United States heads the rankings for the other main confederations.
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Raffaele Poli
Roger Besson
Loïc Ravenel
Thomas Gonzalez

The Post also presents the number of expatriates by age group, with the French in first place for those aged 23 or under, Brazilians for those aged 23 to 26 and 27 to 30, and Argentinians for those aged over 30. More detailed analyses including changes measured since 2017, with record increases for France and Colombia, are available in the 85th Monthly Report.

Expatriates are defined as footballers playing outside the association where they grew up, which they left following recruitment by a foreign club. This definition makes it possible to isolate sports migration from ordinary one, thus highlighting the flows directly linked to the practice of football. The Migration Atlas presents the main destinations for football migrants of all origins.

Number of expatriate players worldwide

Top 100 associations of origin, May 2023