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Tue. 03 June 2014

New edition of the CIES Football Observatory Annual Review

The CIES Football Observatory launched today the ninth edition of its Annual Review of the five major European championships. It notably discloses the transfer market value of big-5 league footballers. This year’s edition also comprises detailed analysis of pitch performance both at club and individual player level, as well as a thorough study of squad compositions in terms of planning, experience and recruitment policies.

The CIES Football Observatory Annual Review is an essential tool for all forward-thinking teams to benchmark themselves against rivals and implement the most suitable strategies for sustainable success. The analysis provided is also of great interest for professionals involved in the transfer market operations, media and the general public. An excerpt of this 96-page landmark publication can be downloaded here. The paperback report is available for purchase from the CIES online shop.

As of June 2013, Lionel Messi is the big-5 league footballer with the highest market value. According to the CIES Football Observatory’s exclusive econometrical model, the estimated value of Barcelona’s player is almost twice as high as for Cristiano Ronaldo: € 216 versus € 114 million. This is mainly related to the younger age of the Argentinian prodigy. However, contrary to Ronaldo’s market value, Messi’s decreased during last year due to lower performance levels (- € 19 million).

The comparison between transfer fees paid by clubs to sign new players at the start or during the 2013/14 season and their current market value allows us to assess the best and worst recruitments from a financial perspective. The highest negative gap was recorded for Gareth Bale (€ -37 million). This finding reflects the fact that Real Madrid clearly paid over the odds to convince Tottenham to release the player. In 2013/14, the Castilian team broke the record for the most expensive line-ups fielded with an average transfer expenditure per player of € 32.3 million in their Champions League winning campaign.

Results achieved by Spanish title winners Atlético Madrid were outstanding with an average transfer fee of “only” about € 4.3 million per player on the pitch. From an economic perspective, it is also worth highlighting results obtained by some of the clubs that were among those that spent the least to sign players fielded such as Crystal Palace in England, Elche in Spain, Guingamp in France, Augsburg in Germany and Hellas Verona in Italy. This publication will allow you to understand what factors permitted these clubs to over-perform.

While not directly focused on national teams, the findings presented in this publication can also be interpreted in the light of the upcoming World Cup. For example, our analysis of the pitch performance of players suggests that it will be very difficult to score against Brazil. Indeed, Thiago Silva, Dante, Dani Alves, Maxwell, Marcelo and Maicon are among the best performing players in their respective position. Felipe Scolari could even afford not to select other very productive and efficient defenders such as Rafinha and Luis Filipe.

However, our analysis also shows that Brazilian players are less represented among the best performing midfielders and forwards. Spain appears thus to have a more complete squad with at least one player in the top 10 of the rankings for each position. Of course, the outstanding talent of the four best performing forwards, Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Luis Suárez (Uruguay), Ciro Immobile (Italy) and Lionel Messi (Argentina), could prove to be a lethal weapon for opponents. Within one week, the CIES Football Observatory will also disclose its World Cup predictions using a brand new methodology.

Press review (in English):

Press review (in French):

Press review (in Spanish):

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