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In a few days, the CIES Football Observatory will embark on its tenth year of existence. We are delighted to celebrate our birthday with you with the launch of our Digital Atlas on European football.

This tool is freely available online from our website. It enables anyone to analyse the state of the game in 31 European countries and to follow its progress from year to year. The indicators offered study the characteristics of players from over 500 first division clubs from the perspective of age, height, mobility, training, origin, etc.

By consulting the Atlas, you can notably learn that there is almost 10cm of difference between the club with the tallest players, Diósgyör (186.3cm on average), and that with the shortest ones, Barcelona (177.3).

The Atlas also allows for comparisons between leagues. Regarding age, for example, it shows that the Italian Serie A regroups the oldest footballers (27.3 years on average), while the Dutch Erdivisie is made up of the youngest ones (24.2).

Issue number 92 of the Big-5 Weekly Post helps situate the five major championships in the European context from the point of view of the average age of squad members. It also presents the average age for the 98 big-5 league clubs. The Post notably shows that more than 5 years separate the youngest club, Valencia, from that which gathers the oldest players, Atalanta.

From January onwards, the Football observatory’s academic team will also offer monthly reports instead of our annual paying publications. Like our Digital Atlas, these will also be freely accessible from our website. The first issue will cover the topic of club instability. Moreover, we shall continue the publication of the Big-5 Weekly Post. We are open to sponsorship proposals.

In autumn 2015, we also plan to publish a book destined for the general reader summarising the key points garnered from our analyses over the past decade. There are indeed over 20,000 football enthusiasts like yourselves now on our mailing list. We warmly thank your for your interest in all our numerous areas of initiative.

Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2015!

The CIES Football Observatory is proud to exclusively present the approach developed to assist clubs in the quest for long-term success. Our presentation on the 25th November 2015 in Berlin during the Sportdata and Performance Forum is now available as a free download here.

Moreover, issue number 91 of the Big-5 Weekly Post presents the results of the analysis of the ASAR ratio for clubs from the five major European championships. The ratio is obtained by dividing the average stay of players in the first team squad of their employer club (the longest, the best) with their age at recruitment (the youngest, the best).

Indeed, the analyses carried out since 2005 show a strong correlation in all countries between this ratio and the results obtained by clubs at the end of the season. It is thus not surprising to note that the five clubs that are currently at the top of the table in their respective league are also in the top 20 positions of the ASAR ranking at European level:

  • Real Madrid (2nd both at big-5 league level and Spain)
  • Juventus (7th and 1st in Italy)
  • Bayern Munich (9th and 2nd in Germany)
  • Chelsea (11th and 1st in England)
  • Marseille (19th and 2nd in France)

From an ASAR perspective, the most over-performing teams so far are Sevilla, Genoa and Valencia. Conversely, Real Sociedad, Borussia Dortmund, Everton, Cagliari and Lille clearly under-performed.

The CIES Football Observatory is pleased to announce the update of its online calculator for the transfer value of big-5 league players. The coefficients of the indicators taken into account were modified by including the fee paying transfers of this summer’s transfer window. The calculator is freely accessible online here.

Thanks to our tool, anyone can obtain an accurate, up to date transfer value for players taking part in the five principle markets of European football: the English Premier League, Spanish Primera Liga, German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A and the French Ligue 1.

Our statistical model is based on almost 1,500 fee paying transfers having taken place at big-5 league club level from 2009 onwards. The correlation between estimated and actually paid sums is greater than 80%. This shows that we have been able to reveal the logics of the transfer market. This allows us to anticipate events and highlight market bias.

Our team is at service of market actors for expert audits for both big-5 league players and professional footballers playing in other championships at worldwide level.

Issue number 90 of the Big-5 Weekly Post presents the rankings for the best performing players since the start of the season according to the six key areas of play identified by the CIES Football Observatory: rigour, recovery, distribution, take on, chance creation and shooting.

Our rankings highlight not only the best performing players overall, but also those who performed the best with regard to teammates. This approach allows us to pick out more players who are not yet part of the top clubs. This is particularly useful from a scouting perspective. To limit bias, only footballers having played at least 66% of match time since the start of the season are included in the study.

In absolute terms, the best big-5 league players at present are Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) both in shooting and chance creation, Eden Hazard (Chelsea) in take on, Xabi Alonso (Bayern Munich) in distribution, Mathieu Coutadeur (Lorient) in recovery and Javi Manquillo (Liverpool) in rigour.

At the top of the relative rankings, we find Charlie Austin (QPR) in shooting, Xabi Prieto (Real Sociedad) in chance creation, Federico Cartabia (Córdoba) in take on, Roberto Trashorras (Rayo Vallecano) in distribution, Alaixys Romao (Marseille) in recovery and Mathieu Bodmer (Nice) in rigour.

Actors from professional clubs can contact us to enquire about our range of products in the domain of performance analysis.

Key performance indicators

  • Shooting: ability to exploit goal opportunities through accurate shooting
  • Chance creation: ability to putting teammates in a favourable position to score
  • Take on: ability to create advantageous situations by successfully challenging opponents
  • Distribution: ability to keep a hold on the game through efficient passing
  • Recovery: ability to minimise opponents’ chances through proficient interception work
  • Rigour: ability to minimise opponents’ chances through robust duelling

The CIES Football Observatory publishes the rankings of matches during which teams fielded the most expensive players with regard to transfer fees paid. Heading the big-5 league rankings since 2009 is the clash Real Madrid-Barcelona: 690 million €. All of the data is available in issue 89 of the Big-5 League Weekly Post.

In the other championships, the most “expensive” matches this season were Manchester City-Chelsea (578 million €), Paris St-Germain-Marseille (503 million €), Bayern Munich-Borussia Dortmund (272 million €) and Inter-Napoli (263 million €).

This analysis shows the increasing impact of money at the highest level of European football and the difficulty encountered by the vast majority of teams to reach the performance levels of the richest clubs. This state of affairs leads to more predictable results.

Thus, the five clubs touted by our research team as favourites at the start of the season are either in the first (Bayern Munich, Chelsea) or second place (Paris St-Germain, Barcelone, Rome) of their respective championships.

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