No outfield footballer played a higher percentage of domestic league minutes of a big-5 league team in the 2010s as Lionel Messi. The Argentinean was fielded for 83.4% of total minutes played by Barcelona in the Liga. This is the second value overall behind that measured for Steve Mandanda (84.2% of Olympique Marseille minutes). The 276th issue of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post presents the most fielded footballer for each of the 42 clubs always present in the big-5 in the 2010s.
The 50th Monthly Report analyses the make-up of these teams over the course of the decade that is about to end. The unique case of Athletic Club Bilbao is reflected in almost all the indicators analysed. FC Barcelona’s case shows that territorial anchoring can be a plus even for a global club. Their success is for the most part linked to the exceptional qualities of home-grown players such as Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andrés Iniesta, Gerard Piqué or Sergio Busquets.
Although money is more than ever a key factor, other elements come into play. Squad stability stemming from good strategic planning, as well as the ability of clubs to get the best out of the talents trained in their youth academies and to stimulate a strong sense of belonging to all parties concerned (players, staff, supporters, etc.), remain crucial success criteria even in the today’s hyper-commercial and globalised environment.