CIES Football Observatory
Avenue DuPeyrou 1
2000 Neuchâtel
+41 (0)32 718 39 00


Sign up to receive our e-news and periodic alerts (email)


Issue number 96 of the CIES Football Observatory Big-5 Weekly Post presents the indicator of the average number of attempts per goal. In the top four places of the table are Spanish clubs : Real Madrid (5.4 shots per goal), Valencia (5.7), Atlético Madrid (6.0) and Barcelona (6.6).

The top ranked teams in the remaining big-5 leagues are Olympique Lyonnais (6.7 shots per goal, 5th place), Eintracht Frankfurt (6.9, 7th), Chelsea (7.0, 10th) and Palermo (7.5, 12th).

Conversely, at the bottom end of the table are Hambourg (22.9), Aston Villa (20.9), Torino (17.1), Granada (16.9) and LOSC Lille (15.2). These figures both reflect a lack of efficiency and the difficulty in taking up a favourable position to shoot. As a matter of example, Aston Villa scored only two goals out of 109 attempts in second halves!

All these statistics were calculated from data provided by our partners Opta Pro. They are to be found here.

The 95th Big-5 Weekly Post of the CIES Football Observatory focuses on the percentage of minutes during which teams led since the start of the season. At the top of the table in the five biggest European football markets are Real Madrid (64.7% of minutes), Chelsea (56.3%) and Bayern Munich (52.4%).

Juventus also led for a majority of domestic league minutes (52.0%). This figure was below 40% for Paris St-Germain (39.8%), Barcelona (39.6%) and Manchester City 38.8%). The record low at big-5 league level was recorded for Sunderland (10.3%). This does not augur well for the Black Cats.

The figures for the 98 big-5 league clubs are to be found here.

The CIES Football Observatory is happy to disclose its first Monthly Report. This online publication is freely accessible from our website. The first issue deals with the reasons and consequences of club instability at European level. As also shown in our Digital Atlas, the percentage of new signings among squad members has never been as high as during the current season: 41.5%.

The report indicates that stability gives clubs a competitive advantage over rival teams, be it on a sporting level (better medium and long-term results) or an economic one (a greater capacity to launch careers of club-trained players and generating revenues through their transfer).

Stability indicators such as the average length of stay of players in their club or the percentage of new signings in the squad thus show their true worth when judging the pertinence of management strategies instigated by club managers.

Well-informed fans of the most unstable teams have good reason to be anxious. In order to protect football from the bad practices of certain managers, to promote training and to increase team competitiveness, it would thus be timely to consider the introduction of a limitation on the number of transfers allowed.

True to its reputation, our research group is at the disposal of football stakeholders to analyse such a scenario. This would notably be about defining more precisely the boundaries of such a limitation on transfers in order to attain the desired goals, without interfering with the free movement of players or provoking a distortion of the market with regard to the upholding of the principle of proportionality.

Issue number 94 of the Big-5 Weekly Post also deals with the subject of club stability by presenting the date of arrival of current squad members for clubs ranked in first and last position in the table of their respective league. This analysis also allows us to highlight the importance of squad stability for sustainable success.

The CIES Football Observatory is happy to disclose the list of the 120 big-5 league players with the highest transfer value. At the top of the table is Lionel Messi. The Argentinean prodigy outranks Cristian Ronaldo and Eden Hazard. The full list is available in issue number 93 of the Big-5 Weekly Post.

With the exception of Raheem Sterling, in the top 10 positions of the ranking are only players under contract with teams that are still competing in the Champions League:

  • Lionel Messi (Barcelona) : 220 million €
  • Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) : 133 million €
  • Eden Hazard (Chelsea) : 99 million €
  • Diego Costa (Chelsea) : 84 million €
  • Paul Pogba (Juventus) : 72 million €
  • Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) : 65 million €
  • Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) : 63 million €
  • Francesc Fàbregas (Chelsea) : 62 million €
  • Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) : 61 million €
  • Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) : 60 million €

The club with the most representatives in the top 100 of the table is Spanish giant and Champions League title holder Real Madrid:

  • Cristiano Ronaldo: 2nd, 133 million €
  • Gareth Bale: 10th, 60 million €
  • James Rodríguez: 15th, 50 million €
  • Isco Alarcón: 17th, 45 million €
  • Karim Benzema: 21st, 43 million €
  • Toni Kroos: 23rd, 41 million €
  • Luka Modrić: 27th, 37 million €
  • Sergio Ramos: 40th, 33 million €
  • Daniel Carvajal: 68th, 25 million €
  • Raphaël Varane: 87th, 23 million €
  • Marcelo Vieira: 94th, 22 million €

The transfer values are calculated using an exclusive algorithm developed on the basis of over 1,500 fee paying transfers occurred since 2009. The variables included in our exclusive econometric model refer to player performances (matches, goals, dribbles, etc.), their characteristics (age, position, contract duration, etc.), as well as competition level and results achieved by their teams (clubs and national sides).

For more information, you are kindly invited to read chapter four of this paper on the CIES Football Observatory’s approach for sustainable success.

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!

© 2005-2015 CIES Football Observatory
All rights reserved