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CIES Football Observatory 
Annual Review 
2014 
Raffaele Poli, Loïc Ravenel and Roger Besson © Copyright 2014 CIES Football Observatory - All rights reserved 
No part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior written permission of the authors
About the CIES Football Observatory 
The Football Observatory is a research group within the International 
Centre for Sports Studies (CIES), a private foundation affiliated to the 
University of Neuchâtel, in Switzerland. Set up in 2005 by Drs Raffaele 
Poli and Loïc Ravenel, it currently comprises a staff of four full-time per-manent 
researchers specialised in data mining and the statistical analy-sis 
of sport. 
Two reports are published every year. In January, the Demographic Study 
presents an in-depth analysis of club composition and player character-istics 
in 31 top division leagues of UEFA member countries. In June, the 
Annual Review analyses clubs and players in the big-5 European leagues 
from a demographic, economic and pitch performance perspective. 
Since 2005, the CIES Football Observatory has been mandated to un-dertake 
original research by several prestigious institutions such as, but 
not limited to, FIFA, UEFA, European Club Association (ECA), European 
Professional Football Leagues (EPFL), Swiss Football League (SFL), as 
well as top-flight European clubs in several countries. 
OptaPro 
Powered by the most comprehensive and detailed databases in sport, 
OptaPro has developed a suite of analytical products and services that 
help professional clubs fine-tune their performances, proficiently scout 
their opponents and effectively recruit new talent. By utilising expertise 
built up over two decades of sports data collection, OptaPro’s extensive 
and consistent dataset combined with advanced analytical products 
helps club professionals to work more efficiently and make smarter deci-sions 
more quickly. OptaPro provided all the data processed by the CIES 
Football Observatory academic team in this publication to analyse the 
pitch performance of clubs and players. 
2 AAnnual Review 2014 
Photo credit: photofriday (cover/p.21), Fingerhut (p.7), Maxisport (p.49), Vlad1988 (p.71) /Shutterstock.com
Introduction 3 
Foreword 
The ninth edition of the CIES Football Observatory Annual Review an-ticipates 
the kick-off of the 2014 World Cup. While not directly focused 
on national teams, the findings presented in this publication can also be 
interpreted in the light of this competition. 
For example, our analysis of the pitch performance of players during the 
2013/14 big-5 league season 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 po-sition. 
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 repre-sented 
among the best performing midfielders and forwards. Spain ap-pears 
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. 
With only one player in the top 10 places of the rankings per position, 
Daniel Sturridge among forwards, England will probably not be in a po-sition 
to win the competition. The situation is even worse for France: 
the only player among the 10 best performing per position, Samir Nasri 
among offensive midfielders, was not selected! Luckily, it is still difficult to 
predict game outcomes and chance will play a great role in such a short 
competition with knock-out matches. 
Chance certainly played a lesser role in the recent league titles won by 
Paris St-Germain, Manchester City, Atlético Madrid, Bayern Munich and 
Juventus. All these clubs were able to build very competitive squads with 
a lot of complementarity between teammates. In four cases out of five, 
they were also the club that fielded the most expensive line-ups in their 
league with an average transfer expenditure per player of € 20.3 million 
for Paris St-Germain, 20.1 for Manchester City, 11.6 for Bayern Munich 
and 11.2 for Juventus. 
However, the highest value overall was recorded for Champions League 
winner Real Madrid: € 30.7 million. 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 Eng-land, 
Elche in Spain, Guingamp in France, Augsburg in Germany and 
Verona in Italy. This publication will allow you to understand what factors 
permitted these clubs to over-perform. 
The Annual Review 2014 also discloses the market value of big-5 league 
players on the basis of our unique econometrical model. It notably shows 
that the record fee paid last summer by Real Madrid to sign Gareth Bale 
could be broken if Lionel Messi (€ 216 million), Cristiano Ronaldo (€ 
114 million) or Luis Suárez (€ 107 million) would be transferred. For the 
up-coming transfer window, we will also launch an online player market 
value calculator that will allow you to access a reliable estimation of the 
economic value of big-5 league players. 
The attention that you give to all our products and innovations is our best 
reward! 
Raffaele Poli, Head of CIES Football Observatory
Highlights 
(1) Market value 
Lionel Messi is currently the big-5 league footballer with the highest mar-ket 
value. According to our exclusive econometrical model, the estimat-ed 
value of Barcelona’s player is almost twice as high as for Cristiano 
Ronaldo: € 216 million 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 (- € 19 million) during last year. A third 
player could break the record for the highest transfer fee ever spent: Luis 
Suárez (€ 107 million). At club level, the highest transfer asset values 
were measured for the two Spanish giants: Barcelona (€ 593 million) and 
Champions League winners Real Madrid (€ 488 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 per-spective. 
4 AAnnual Review 2014 
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. Conversely, the 
highest positive gap was observed for Max Kruse. Borussia Möncheng-ladbach 
signed him for a bargain from Freiburg thanks to the existence of 
a very low buy-out clause. His current market value is eight times great-er 
than the fee paid one year ago. Adnan Januzaj tops the table for 
the highest market value for players launched from youth academies in 
2013/14. 
(2) Player performance 
The analysis of players’ production and efficiency allowed us to objective-ly 
identify the best performing footballers at big-5 league level. Gianluigi 
Buffon (Juventus) was the goalkeeper who achieved the highest per-centage 
of saves. His teammate Giorgio Chiellini tops the ranking for 
centre backs. The Italian defender has only one year of contract remain-ing 
and should thus be coveted by all top-flight European clubs that aim 
to reinforce their defence. The best performing full-back was Dani Alves 
(Barcelona). The Brazilian also has only one year of contract remaining. 
His possible transfer would considerably weaken Barcelona’s side. 
Miralem Pjanić (Roma) was the best performing player among central 
and defensive midfielders. His recent contract extension should allow 
Roma to further improve its performance levels next season. Angel Di 
María (Real Madrid) tops the table for offensive midfielders. Carlo Ance-lotti’s 
decision to put the Argentinean at the heart of Real Madrid’s game 
was a key factor for the Champions League winning campaign. Another 
Real Madrid’s player, Cristiano Ronaldo, heads the ranking for forwards. 
Contrary to Lionel Messi, the performance standards of the Portuguese 
superstar were outstanding throughout the season. 
The ninth edition of the CIES Football Observatory Annual Review is composed 
of four sections: player market value, player performance, club performance and 
club demographics.
Introduction 5 
(3) Club performance 
The analysis of club performance covers the areas of defending, passing 
and attack. At defensive level, Barcelona tops the European table for the 
least shots conceded per match (8.9), while Juventus (4.2) heads the 
ranking for the least shots conceded from inside the box. Antonio Conte’s 
team is also at the top of the table for the highest number of shots on 
target needed by opponents to score (5.2). Atlético Madrid’s opponents 
had to make 29 passes in the opposite half before to be able to shoot, 
the highest figure at big-5 league level. Conversely, the most permeable 
defence in the five major European championships was that of Nurem-berg: 
only 15 opponents’ passes in Nuremberg’s half per shot conceded. 
Bayern Munich was the club that made the most passes during last sea-son 
(on average 739 per game). This clearly reflects the impact of Josep 
Guardiola’s recruitment. Bayern Munich also tops the table for the num-ber 
of passes in the opposite zone (437 per match). Interestingly, this is 
almost the same level than at Barcelona (433). No big-5 league club 
made as many passes in its own half than Paris St-Germain (319). The 
French champions also head the European ranking for the highest num-ber 
of passes before contesting opponents (43.9). This figure is much 
higher than for all other top-flight clubs. PSG should consider finding a 
better balance between ball possession and challenges. 
Real Madrid heads the table for the highest number of shots attempted 
per match (19.6). The Castilian team is also at the top of the big-5 league 
ranking for shots on target: on average 7.9 per game. The offensive 
production of Carlo Ancelotti’s team in the Champions League winning 
campaign was only slightly lower than in the domestic league: 7.3 shots 
on target per match. This is the highest figure among the last six final-ists. 
In terms of efficiency, Barcelona and Manchester City top the big-5 
league table for the least shots needed to score: on average only 6.4 per 
game. The record high in conversion rate for big-5 league champions 
since 2008/09 was recorded at Barcelona: 4.6 shots per goal in 2012/13. 
(4) Club demographics 
No club in football history invested as much money to sign players fielded 
as Real Madrid during last season. The average transfer expenditure 
of the Castilian team per footballer on the pitch was € 30.7 million in 
the Spanish Liga and € 32.3 million at Champions League level. Three 
2013/14 big-5 league champions out of five also broke the record of the 
highest average transfer fee paid per player fielded: € 20.4 million for 
Paris St-Germain, € 20.1 million for Manchester City and € 11.6 million for 
Bayern Munich. Conversely, Atlético Madrid was the Spanish title win-ner 
that spent on average the least to make up its line-ups: € 4.3 million. 
With a similar level of transfer expenditure, Milan, for example, did not 
even qualify for European club competitions next season. 
Great discrepancies also exist with regard to the percentage of minutes 
played by footballers signed at the start or during the season: from 82% 
at Genoa to 5% at Barcelona. Among big-5 league champions, this fig-ure 
varies from 24% (Manchester City) to 10% (Bayern Munich). In all 
leagues except Spain, runner-up clubs fielded new players for a high-er 
percentage of minutes than champions. Since 2006/07, the average 
number of seasons in the first team squad for players fielded by Champi-ons 
League winners was at least three, up to 4.3 for Real Madrid during 
the last winning campaign. All these figures reveal that the optimal mix 
between team stability and new signings is a key factor to be considered 
for sustainable success. From a sporting perspective, all big-5 league 
clubs should prioritise quality over quantity in their transfer operations.
Methodology 
During the last twelve months, the CIES Football Observatory academic 
team has continuously fine-tuned its methodologies to understand the 
logics of success by means of the combined analysis of the composi-tion 
of squads and the pitch performance at both individual player and 
team level. More details on the methodology conceived to analyse pitch 
production and efficiency are presented on page 22. Moreover, we have 
further developed our exclusive statistical model to assess the market 
value of players and predict transfer fees. 
Years of work has allowed us to develop a powerful econometrical model 
based on the in-depth analysis of a sample of about 1,500 players trans-ferred 
for money from big-5 league teams since the summer transfer win-dow 
preceding the 2009/10 season. The values for individual footballers 
presented in the next section are estimates on the basis of past transfers 
of players with similar characteristics (+/- 7.5% around data provided by 
the model). Estimations do not take into account transfers already com-pleted, 
buyout clauses in player's contract and options held by clubs for 
automatic contract extension. Players’ contract situation and international 
experience refer to 1st June 2014. 
The statistical model developed includes a multitude of variables relat-ing 
to the following areas: age, length of contract remaining, position, 
player performance at club level for last and previous seasons (matches, 
minutes, goals, assists, passes, tackles, interceptions, etc.), results of 
the clubs to which players belong, as well as players’ international ex-perience 
6 AAnnual Review 2014 
and results of association represented at national A-team level. 
For more transparency and to show the robustness of the model, during 
the summer we will regularly compare on the CIES Football Observatory 
website the estimated value of players according to our model with trans-fer 
fees paid for them as reported in the media. This will notably allow us 
to identify over or under-paid footballers. 
Only part of the information on individual players’ economic value is dis-closed 
in this publication. However, we remain at the disposal of interest-ed 
parties to assist them in various areas such as transfer negotiations 
and contract policies both from risk and asset management perspectives. 
Correlation between transfer fees estimated and reported 
(2009/10-2013/14) 
R2 = 76% 
Reported 
Estimated 
Ronaldo 
(Man. Utd  Real Madrid) 
Gündogan 
(Nürnberg  Dortmund) 
Martial 
(Lyon  Monaco)
Section I 
Player Market value
Highest estimated values 
Top 60 
Situation on 1st June 2014 
8 AAnnual Review 2014 
Million € 
1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) 200.2 - 232.6 
2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 105.7 - 122.9 
3. Luis Suárez (Liverpool) 98.5 - 114.5 
4. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) 75.9 - 88.3 
5. Neymar Júnior (Barcelona) 62.8 - 73.0 
6. Paul Pogba (Juventus) 60.6 - 70.4 
7. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) 58.4 - 67.8 
8. Mesut Özil (Arsenal) 49.2 - 57.2 
9. Edinson Cavani (Paris SG) 48.0 - 55.8 
10. Mario Götze (Bayern München) 47.0 - 54.6 
11. Diego Costa (Atlético Madrid) 46.9 - 54.5 
12. Oscar dos Santos (Chelsea) 46.0 - 53.4 
13. Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) 45.2 - 52.6 
14. Isco Alarcón (Real Madrid) 40.9 - 47.5 
15. Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) 38.7 - 44.9 
16. Ross Barkley (Everton) 36.8 - 42.8 
17. Thomas Müller (Bayern München) 36.7 - 42.7 
. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) 36.7 - 42.7 
19. Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) 36.4 - 42.4 
. Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona) 36.4 - 42.4 
21. Mario Balotelli (Milan) 35.5 - 41.3 
22. Romelu Lukaku (Everton)* 35.2 - 41.0 
23. Juan Mata (Manchester United) 34.6 - 40.2 
24. Sergio Busquets (Barcelona) 34.4 - 40.0 
25. James Rodríguez (Monaco) 34.2 - 39.8 
26. Jack Wilshere (Arsenal) 33.9 - 39.5 
27. Santi Cazorla (Arsenal) 33.6 - 39.0 
28. Francesc Fàbregas (Barcelona) 33.2 - 38.6 
29. Marco Reus (Dortmund) 32.9 - 38.3 
30. Miralem Pjanić (Roma) 32.4 - 37.6 
Million € 
. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) 32.4 - 37.6 
32. Koke Resurrección (Atlético Madrid) 31.7 - 36.9 
. David Silva (Manchester City) 31.7 - 36.9 
34. Juan Cuadrado (Fiorentina) 31.5 - 36.7 
35. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) 31.2 - 36.2 
36. Gonzalo Higuaín (Napoli) 31.0 - 36.0 
37. Lucas Moura (Paris SG) 30.6 - 35.6 
38. Gerard Piqué (Barcelona) 29.9 - 34.7 
39. Arturo Vidal (Juventus) 29.4 - 34.2 
40. Julian Draxler (Schalke) 29.1 - 33.9 
41. Vincent Kompany (Manchester City) 29.0 - 33.8 
42. Ángel Di María (Real Madrid) 28.8 - 33.4 
43. Thiago Silva (Paris SG) 28.7 - 33.3 
. André Schürrle (Chelsea) 28.7 - 33.3 
. Yaya Touré (Manchester City) 28.7 - 33.3 
46. Luke Shaw (Southampton) 28.5 - 33.1 
47. Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid) 28.3 - 32.9 
48. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) 28.1 - 32.7 
49. David Luiz (Chelsea) 27.8 - 32.3 
. Marco Verratti (Paris SG) 27.8 - 32.3 
51. David Alaba (Bayern München) 26.7 - 31.1 
52. Alexis Sánchez (Barcelona) 26.4 - 30.6 
53. Radamel Falcao (Monaco) 26.1 - 30.3 
54. Luka Modrić (Real Madrid) 25.6 - 29.8 
55. Manuel Neuer (Bayern München) 25.4 - 29.6 
56. Pedro Rodríguez (Barcelona) 24.7 - 28.7 
57. Ramires Santos (Chelsea) 24.1 - 28.1 
58. Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus) 24.0 - 27.8 
59. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham) 23.9 - 27.7 
60. Jérôme Boateng (Bayern München) 23.7 - 27.5 
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo top the table of the play-ers 
with the highest market value. The estimated value for 
Messi is almost twice as high as for Ronaldo: € 216 million 
versus € 114 million. This is mainly related to the younger 
age of the Argentinian prodigy, who was born 28 months af-ter 
the Portuguese superstar. However, with respect to last 
year, Messi’s market value went down (- € 19 million), while 
that of Ronaldo increased (+ € 4 million). A third player could 
break the record for the highest transfer fee ever spent: Luis 
Suárez (€ 107 million). The market value of eight other play-ers 
is above € 50 million. All of them are offensive midfielders 
or forwards, with the exception of the Juventus player Paul 
Pogba. The youngest footballer in the top 60 positions is Luke 
Shaw (1995), while the oldest is Thiago Silva (1984). Players 
employed by English and Spanish clubs are over-represented 
in the ranking, as well as footballers under contract with Bar-celona 
(8 players). 
* On loan from Chelsea
2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF) 114 
2 
3. Luis Suárez (Liverpool FC) 107 
4. Eden Hazard (Chelsea FC) 82 
5. Neymar Júnior (FC Barcelona) 68 
6. Paul Pogba (Juventus FC) 66 
7. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid CF) 63 
8. Mesut Özil (Arsenal FC) 53 
9. Edinson Cavani (Paris St-Germain FC) 52 
10. Mario Götze (FC Bayern München) 51 
11. Diego Costa (Club Atlético de Madrid) 51 Total value: 922 million € 
2 8 
2. Luke Shaw (Southampton FC) 31 
3. Gerard Piqué (FC Barcelona) 32 
6 10 
4. Vincent Kompany (Manchester City FC) 31 
5. Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur FC) 20 
6. Sergio Busquets (FC Barcelona) 37 
7. Paul Pogba (Juventus FC) 66 
8. Eden Hazard (Chelsea FC) 82 
9. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid CF) 63 
10. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF) 114 
11. Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona) 216 Total value: 721 million € 
Player market value 9 
Most expensive line-ups 
Fees paid 
Overall 
1. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid CF) 100 
2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF) 94 
3. Edinson Cavani (Paris St-Germain FC) 65 
1 
3 
9 
4. Radamel Falcao (AS Monaco) 60 
7 
5. Fernando Torres (Chelsea FC) 59 
10 
6. Neymar Júnior (FC Barcelona) 58 
7. Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus FC) 54 
8. Mesut Özil (Arsenal FC) 50 
9. Thiago Silva (Paris St-Germain FC) 49 
10. Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United FC) 46 
11. Lucas Moura (Paris St-Germain FC) 45 Total value: 679 million € 
2 
8 
4 
11 5 
6 
4-4-2 line-up 
1. Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus FC) 54 
2. Fábio Coentrão (Real Madrid CF) 30 
3. Thiago Silva (Paris St-Germain FC) 49 
4. Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United FC) 46 
1 
5. Dani Alves (FC Barcelona) 34 
6. Luka Modrić (Real Madrid CF) 42 
7. Javi Martínez (FC Bayern München) 40 
8. Mesut Özil (Arsenal FC) 50 
9. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid CF) 100 
10. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF) 94 
11. Edinson Cavani (Paris St-Germain FC) 65 Total value: 604 million € 
2 8 
3 
4 
5 
6 10 
9 
7 
11 
Among the 11 players signed for the highest transfer fees by their 2013/14 big-5 
league clubs are eight offensive players and only three defensive ones: Gianluigi 
Buffon (signed by Juventus from Parma in 2001), Rio Ferdinand (from Leeds to 
Manchester United in 2002), and Thiago Silva (from Milan to PSG in 2012). The 
overall transfer expenditure for the most expensive line-up of last season’s big-5 
league players totals almost € 700 million. This sum is “only” € 600 million for 
a 4-4-2 formation. The figures for the 11 big-5 league players with the highest 
transfer market value are even greater: € 922 million overall and € 721 million for 
a 4-4-2 formation. 
Market value 
Overall 
1. Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona) 216 1 
5 
4 
3 
8 
9 
7 
6 
10 
11 
4-4-2 line-up 
1. Manuel Neuer (FC Bayern München) 28 
1 
3 
4 
5 
9 
7 
11
Paris SG 
Monaco 
Marseille 
Lyon 
Lille 
Toulouse 
St-Etienne 
Rennes 
Bordeaux 
Lorient 
Montpellier 
Nice 
Reims 
Nantes 
Sochaux 
Guingamp 
Evian TG 
Bastia 
Valenciennes 
10 AAnnual Review 2014 
Liga 
Transfer Asset Value 
Per club* 
Situation on 1st June 2014 
* Not including players on loan or loaned to other clubs 
Premier League 
164 
108 
102 
75 
62 
59 
50 
48 
47 
42 
40 
38 
84 
162 
273 
257 
386 
385 
373 
358 
Manchester City 
Chelsea 
Liverpool 
Arsenal 
Manchester United 
Tottenham 
Everton 
Southampton 
Newcastle 
Swansea City 
Aston Villa 
Stoke City 
Norwich City 
Cardiff City 
Hull City 
Sunderland 
West Ham 
Crystal Palace 
WBA 
Fulham 
Ligue 1 
Bundesliga 
Serie A 
121 
91 
73 
45 
38 
33 
30 
27 
27 
23 
20 
19 
15 
13 
12 
72 
114 
221 
488 
593 
Barcelona 
Real Madrid 
Atlético Madrid 
Athletic Bilbao 
Real Sociedad 
Sevilla 
Valencia 
Villarreal 
Celta Vigo 
Málaga 
Granada 
Espanyol 
Levante 
Real Betis 
Getafe 
Osasuna 
Real Valladolid 
Almería 
Elche 
Rayo Vallecano 
85 
67 
58 
46 
42 
36 
35 
35 
33 
23 
19 
16 
14 
14 
13 
8 
29 
69 
153 
278 
Ajaccio 
142 
115 
81 
75 
45 
42 
40 
36 
36 
35 
34 
33 
28 
11 
52 
104 
187 
400 
Bayern München 
Dortmund 
Schalke 
Leverkusen 
Wolfsburg 
M'gladbach 
Hoffenheim 
Stuttgart 
Freiburg 
Mainz 
Hamburg 
Hannover 
Berlin 
Frankfurt 
Nürnberg 
Augsburg 
Werder Bremen 
Braunschweig 
138 
128 
94 
59 
53 
43 
35 
34 
33 
33 
30 
23 
21 
15 
57 
99 
211 
153 
213 
282 
Juventus 
Roma 
Napoli 
Internazionale 
Milan 
Fiorentina 
Lazio 
Udinese 
Sampdoria 
Torino 
Genoa 
Atalanta Bergamo 
Parma 
Catania 
Sassuolo 
Hellas Verona 
Cagliari Calcio 
Bologna 
Livorno 
Chievo Verona 
Barcelona tops the big-5 league table for the highest transfer 
asset value: € 593 million. The market value of squad mem-bers 
is also very high for Champions League winners Real 
Madrid: € 488 million. The figure for five other clubs is supe-rior 
to € 350 million: Bayern Munich (400), Manchester City 
(386), Chelsea (385), Liverpool (373) and Arsenal (358). Poor 
results and squad ageing mainly explain the relatively low lev-els 
observed for prestigious clubs such as Manchester United 
(273) and Milan (138). The lowest figures by league were re-corded 
at Ajaccio (€ 8 million), Eintracht Braunschweig (11), 
Rayo Vallecano (12), Chievo (15) and Fulham (37). This is 
mainly due to the combination of bad results and short-term 
contract policies.

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Die teuersten Fußball-Stars der Welt

  • 1. CIES Football Observatory Annual Review 2014 Raffaele Poli, Loïc Ravenel and Roger Besson © Copyright 2014 CIES Football Observatory - All rights reserved No part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior written permission of the authors
  • 2. About the CIES Football Observatory The Football Observatory is a research group within the International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES), a private foundation affiliated to the University of Neuchâtel, in Switzerland. Set up in 2005 by Drs Raffaele Poli and Loïc Ravenel, it currently comprises a staff of four full-time per-manent researchers specialised in data mining and the statistical analy-sis of sport. Two reports are published every year. In January, the Demographic Study presents an in-depth analysis of club composition and player character-istics in 31 top division leagues of UEFA member countries. In June, the Annual Review analyses clubs and players in the big-5 European leagues from a demographic, economic and pitch performance perspective. Since 2005, the CIES Football Observatory has been mandated to un-dertake original research by several prestigious institutions such as, but not limited to, FIFA, UEFA, European Club Association (ECA), European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL), Swiss Football League (SFL), as well as top-flight European clubs in several countries. OptaPro Powered by the most comprehensive and detailed databases in sport, OptaPro has developed a suite of analytical products and services that help professional clubs fine-tune their performances, proficiently scout their opponents and effectively recruit new talent. By utilising expertise built up over two decades of sports data collection, OptaPro’s extensive and consistent dataset combined with advanced analytical products helps club professionals to work more efficiently and make smarter deci-sions more quickly. OptaPro provided all the data processed by the CIES Football Observatory academic team in this publication to analyse the pitch performance of clubs and players. 2 AAnnual Review 2014 Photo credit: photofriday (cover/p.21), Fingerhut (p.7), Maxisport (p.49), Vlad1988 (p.71) /Shutterstock.com
  • 3. Introduction 3 Foreword The ninth edition of the CIES Football Observatory Annual Review an-ticipates the kick-off of the 2014 World Cup. While not directly focused on national teams, the findings presented in this publication can also be interpreted in the light of this competition. For example, our analysis of the pitch performance of players during the 2013/14 big-5 league season 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 po-sition. 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 repre-sented among the best performing midfielders and forwards. Spain ap-pears 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. With only one player in the top 10 places of the rankings per position, Daniel Sturridge among forwards, England will probably not be in a po-sition to win the competition. The situation is even worse for France: the only player among the 10 best performing per position, Samir Nasri among offensive midfielders, was not selected! Luckily, it is still difficult to predict game outcomes and chance will play a great role in such a short competition with knock-out matches. Chance certainly played a lesser role in the recent league titles won by Paris St-Germain, Manchester City, Atlético Madrid, Bayern Munich and Juventus. All these clubs were able to build very competitive squads with a lot of complementarity between teammates. In four cases out of five, they were also the club that fielded the most expensive line-ups in their league with an average transfer expenditure per player of € 20.3 million for Paris St-Germain, 20.1 for Manchester City, 11.6 for Bayern Munich and 11.2 for Juventus. However, the highest value overall was recorded for Champions League winner Real Madrid: € 30.7 million. 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 Eng-land, Elche in Spain, Guingamp in France, Augsburg in Germany and Verona in Italy. This publication will allow you to understand what factors permitted these clubs to over-perform. The Annual Review 2014 also discloses the market value of big-5 league players on the basis of our unique econometrical model. It notably shows that the record fee paid last summer by Real Madrid to sign Gareth Bale could be broken if Lionel Messi (€ 216 million), Cristiano Ronaldo (€ 114 million) or Luis Suárez (€ 107 million) would be transferred. For the up-coming transfer window, we will also launch an online player market value calculator that will allow you to access a reliable estimation of the economic value of big-5 league players. The attention that you give to all our products and innovations is our best reward! Raffaele Poli, Head of CIES Football Observatory
  • 4. Highlights (1) Market value Lionel Messi is currently the big-5 league footballer with the highest mar-ket value. According to our exclusive econometrical model, the estimat-ed value of Barcelona’s player is almost twice as high as for Cristiano Ronaldo: € 216 million 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 (- € 19 million) during last year. A third player could break the record for the highest transfer fee ever spent: Luis Suárez (€ 107 million). At club level, the highest transfer asset values were measured for the two Spanish giants: Barcelona (€ 593 million) and Champions League winners Real Madrid (€ 488 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 per-spective. 4 AAnnual Review 2014 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. Conversely, the highest positive gap was observed for Max Kruse. Borussia Möncheng-ladbach signed him for a bargain from Freiburg thanks to the existence of a very low buy-out clause. His current market value is eight times great-er than the fee paid one year ago. Adnan Januzaj tops the table for the highest market value for players launched from youth academies in 2013/14. (2) Player performance The analysis of players’ production and efficiency allowed us to objective-ly identify the best performing footballers at big-5 league level. Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus) was the goalkeeper who achieved the highest per-centage of saves. His teammate Giorgio Chiellini tops the ranking for centre backs. The Italian defender has only one year of contract remain-ing and should thus be coveted by all top-flight European clubs that aim to reinforce their defence. The best performing full-back was Dani Alves (Barcelona). The Brazilian also has only one year of contract remaining. His possible transfer would considerably weaken Barcelona’s side. Miralem Pjanić (Roma) was the best performing player among central and defensive midfielders. His recent contract extension should allow Roma to further improve its performance levels next season. Angel Di María (Real Madrid) tops the table for offensive midfielders. Carlo Ance-lotti’s decision to put the Argentinean at the heart of Real Madrid’s game was a key factor for the Champions League winning campaign. Another Real Madrid’s player, Cristiano Ronaldo, heads the ranking for forwards. Contrary to Lionel Messi, the performance standards of the Portuguese superstar were outstanding throughout the season. The ninth edition of the CIES Football Observatory Annual Review is composed of four sections: player market value, player performance, club performance and club demographics.
  • 5. Introduction 5 (3) Club performance The analysis of club performance covers the areas of defending, passing and attack. At defensive level, Barcelona tops the European table for the least shots conceded per match (8.9), while Juventus (4.2) heads the ranking for the least shots conceded from inside the box. Antonio Conte’s team is also at the top of the table for the highest number of shots on target needed by opponents to score (5.2). Atlético Madrid’s opponents had to make 29 passes in the opposite half before to be able to shoot, the highest figure at big-5 league level. Conversely, the most permeable defence in the five major European championships was that of Nurem-berg: only 15 opponents’ passes in Nuremberg’s half per shot conceded. Bayern Munich was the club that made the most passes during last sea-son (on average 739 per game). This clearly reflects the impact of Josep Guardiola’s recruitment. Bayern Munich also tops the table for the num-ber of passes in the opposite zone (437 per match). Interestingly, this is almost the same level than at Barcelona (433). No big-5 league club made as many passes in its own half than Paris St-Germain (319). The French champions also head the European ranking for the highest num-ber of passes before contesting opponents (43.9). This figure is much higher than for all other top-flight clubs. PSG should consider finding a better balance between ball possession and challenges. Real Madrid heads the table for the highest number of shots attempted per match (19.6). The Castilian team is also at the top of the big-5 league ranking for shots on target: on average 7.9 per game. The offensive production of Carlo Ancelotti’s team in the Champions League winning campaign was only slightly lower than in the domestic league: 7.3 shots on target per match. This is the highest figure among the last six final-ists. In terms of efficiency, Barcelona and Manchester City top the big-5 league table for the least shots needed to score: on average only 6.4 per game. The record high in conversion rate for big-5 league champions since 2008/09 was recorded at Barcelona: 4.6 shots per goal in 2012/13. (4) Club demographics No club in football history invested as much money to sign players fielded as Real Madrid during last season. The average transfer expenditure of the Castilian team per footballer on the pitch was € 30.7 million in the Spanish Liga and € 32.3 million at Champions League level. Three 2013/14 big-5 league champions out of five also broke the record of the highest average transfer fee paid per player fielded: € 20.4 million for Paris St-Germain, € 20.1 million for Manchester City and € 11.6 million for Bayern Munich. Conversely, Atlético Madrid was the Spanish title win-ner that spent on average the least to make up its line-ups: € 4.3 million. With a similar level of transfer expenditure, Milan, for example, did not even qualify for European club competitions next season. Great discrepancies also exist with regard to the percentage of minutes played by footballers signed at the start or during the season: from 82% at Genoa to 5% at Barcelona. Among big-5 league champions, this fig-ure varies from 24% (Manchester City) to 10% (Bayern Munich). In all leagues except Spain, runner-up clubs fielded new players for a high-er percentage of minutes than champions. Since 2006/07, the average number of seasons in the first team squad for players fielded by Champi-ons League winners was at least three, up to 4.3 for Real Madrid during the last winning campaign. All these figures reveal that the optimal mix between team stability and new signings is a key factor to be considered for sustainable success. From a sporting perspective, all big-5 league clubs should prioritise quality over quantity in their transfer operations.
  • 6. Methodology During the last twelve months, the CIES Football Observatory academic team has continuously fine-tuned its methodologies to understand the logics of success by means of the combined analysis of the composi-tion of squads and the pitch performance at both individual player and team level. More details on the methodology conceived to analyse pitch production and efficiency are presented on page 22. Moreover, we have further developed our exclusive statistical model to assess the market value of players and predict transfer fees. Years of work has allowed us to develop a powerful econometrical model based on the in-depth analysis of a sample of about 1,500 players trans-ferred for money from big-5 league teams since the summer transfer win-dow preceding the 2009/10 season. The values for individual footballers presented in the next section are estimates on the basis of past transfers of players with similar characteristics (+/- 7.5% around data provided by the model). Estimations do not take into account transfers already com-pleted, buyout clauses in player's contract and options held by clubs for automatic contract extension. Players’ contract situation and international experience refer to 1st June 2014. The statistical model developed includes a multitude of variables relat-ing to the following areas: age, length of contract remaining, position, player performance at club level for last and previous seasons (matches, minutes, goals, assists, passes, tackles, interceptions, etc.), results of the clubs to which players belong, as well as players’ international ex-perience 6 AAnnual Review 2014 and results of association represented at national A-team level. For more transparency and to show the robustness of the model, during the summer we will regularly compare on the CIES Football Observatory website the estimated value of players according to our model with trans-fer fees paid for them as reported in the media. This will notably allow us to identify over or under-paid footballers. Only part of the information on individual players’ economic value is dis-closed in this publication. However, we remain at the disposal of interest-ed parties to assist them in various areas such as transfer negotiations and contract policies both from risk and asset management perspectives. Correlation between transfer fees estimated and reported (2009/10-2013/14) R2 = 76% Reported Estimated Ronaldo (Man. Utd  Real Madrid) Gündogan (Nürnberg  Dortmund) Martial (Lyon  Monaco)
  • 7. Section I Player Market value
  • 8. Highest estimated values Top 60 Situation on 1st June 2014 8 AAnnual Review 2014 Million € 1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) 200.2 - 232.6 2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 105.7 - 122.9 3. Luis Suárez (Liverpool) 98.5 - 114.5 4. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) 75.9 - 88.3 5. Neymar Júnior (Barcelona) 62.8 - 73.0 6. Paul Pogba (Juventus) 60.6 - 70.4 7. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) 58.4 - 67.8 8. Mesut Özil (Arsenal) 49.2 - 57.2 9. Edinson Cavani (Paris SG) 48.0 - 55.8 10. Mario Götze (Bayern München) 47.0 - 54.6 11. Diego Costa (Atlético Madrid) 46.9 - 54.5 12. Oscar dos Santos (Chelsea) 46.0 - 53.4 13. Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) 45.2 - 52.6 14. Isco Alarcón (Real Madrid) 40.9 - 47.5 15. Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) 38.7 - 44.9 16. Ross Barkley (Everton) 36.8 - 42.8 17. Thomas Müller (Bayern München) 36.7 - 42.7 . Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) 36.7 - 42.7 19. Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) 36.4 - 42.4 . Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona) 36.4 - 42.4 21. Mario Balotelli (Milan) 35.5 - 41.3 22. Romelu Lukaku (Everton)* 35.2 - 41.0 23. Juan Mata (Manchester United) 34.6 - 40.2 24. Sergio Busquets (Barcelona) 34.4 - 40.0 25. James Rodríguez (Monaco) 34.2 - 39.8 26. Jack Wilshere (Arsenal) 33.9 - 39.5 27. Santi Cazorla (Arsenal) 33.6 - 39.0 28. Francesc Fàbregas (Barcelona) 33.2 - 38.6 29. Marco Reus (Dortmund) 32.9 - 38.3 30. Miralem Pjanić (Roma) 32.4 - 37.6 Million € . Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) 32.4 - 37.6 32. Koke Resurrección (Atlético Madrid) 31.7 - 36.9 . David Silva (Manchester City) 31.7 - 36.9 34. Juan Cuadrado (Fiorentina) 31.5 - 36.7 35. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) 31.2 - 36.2 36. Gonzalo Higuaín (Napoli) 31.0 - 36.0 37. Lucas Moura (Paris SG) 30.6 - 35.6 38. Gerard Piqué (Barcelona) 29.9 - 34.7 39. Arturo Vidal (Juventus) 29.4 - 34.2 40. Julian Draxler (Schalke) 29.1 - 33.9 41. Vincent Kompany (Manchester City) 29.0 - 33.8 42. Ángel Di María (Real Madrid) 28.8 - 33.4 43. Thiago Silva (Paris SG) 28.7 - 33.3 . André Schürrle (Chelsea) 28.7 - 33.3 . Yaya Touré (Manchester City) 28.7 - 33.3 46. Luke Shaw (Southampton) 28.5 - 33.1 47. Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid) 28.3 - 32.9 48. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) 28.1 - 32.7 49. David Luiz (Chelsea) 27.8 - 32.3 . Marco Verratti (Paris SG) 27.8 - 32.3 51. David Alaba (Bayern München) 26.7 - 31.1 52. Alexis Sánchez (Barcelona) 26.4 - 30.6 53. Radamel Falcao (Monaco) 26.1 - 30.3 54. Luka Modrić (Real Madrid) 25.6 - 29.8 55. Manuel Neuer (Bayern München) 25.4 - 29.6 56. Pedro Rodríguez (Barcelona) 24.7 - 28.7 57. Ramires Santos (Chelsea) 24.1 - 28.1 58. Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus) 24.0 - 27.8 59. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham) 23.9 - 27.7 60. Jérôme Boateng (Bayern München) 23.7 - 27.5 Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo top the table of the play-ers with the highest market value. The estimated value for Messi is almost twice as high as for Ronaldo: € 216 million versus € 114 million. This is mainly related to the younger age of the Argentinian prodigy, who was born 28 months af-ter the Portuguese superstar. However, with respect to last year, Messi’s market value went down (- € 19 million), while that of Ronaldo increased (+ € 4 million). A third player could break the record for the highest transfer fee ever spent: Luis Suárez (€ 107 million). The market value of eight other play-ers is above € 50 million. All of them are offensive midfielders or forwards, with the exception of the Juventus player Paul Pogba. The youngest footballer in the top 60 positions is Luke Shaw (1995), while the oldest is Thiago Silva (1984). Players employed by English and Spanish clubs are over-represented in the ranking, as well as footballers under contract with Bar-celona (8 players). * On loan from Chelsea
  • 9. 2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF) 114 2 3. Luis Suárez (Liverpool FC) 107 4. Eden Hazard (Chelsea FC) 82 5. Neymar Júnior (FC Barcelona) 68 6. Paul Pogba (Juventus FC) 66 7. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid CF) 63 8. Mesut Özil (Arsenal FC) 53 9. Edinson Cavani (Paris St-Germain FC) 52 10. Mario Götze (FC Bayern München) 51 11. Diego Costa (Club Atlético de Madrid) 51 Total value: 922 million € 2 8 2. Luke Shaw (Southampton FC) 31 3. Gerard Piqué (FC Barcelona) 32 6 10 4. Vincent Kompany (Manchester City FC) 31 5. Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur FC) 20 6. Sergio Busquets (FC Barcelona) 37 7. Paul Pogba (Juventus FC) 66 8. Eden Hazard (Chelsea FC) 82 9. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid CF) 63 10. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF) 114 11. Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona) 216 Total value: 721 million € Player market value 9 Most expensive line-ups Fees paid Overall 1. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid CF) 100 2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF) 94 3. Edinson Cavani (Paris St-Germain FC) 65 1 3 9 4. Radamel Falcao (AS Monaco) 60 7 5. Fernando Torres (Chelsea FC) 59 10 6. Neymar Júnior (FC Barcelona) 58 7. Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus FC) 54 8. Mesut Özil (Arsenal FC) 50 9. Thiago Silva (Paris St-Germain FC) 49 10. Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United FC) 46 11. Lucas Moura (Paris St-Germain FC) 45 Total value: 679 million € 2 8 4 11 5 6 4-4-2 line-up 1. Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus FC) 54 2. Fábio Coentrão (Real Madrid CF) 30 3. Thiago Silva (Paris St-Germain FC) 49 4. Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United FC) 46 1 5. Dani Alves (FC Barcelona) 34 6. Luka Modrić (Real Madrid CF) 42 7. Javi Martínez (FC Bayern München) 40 8. Mesut Özil (Arsenal FC) 50 9. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid CF) 100 10. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF) 94 11. Edinson Cavani (Paris St-Germain FC) 65 Total value: 604 million € 2 8 3 4 5 6 10 9 7 11 Among the 11 players signed for the highest transfer fees by their 2013/14 big-5 league clubs are eight offensive players and only three defensive ones: Gianluigi Buffon (signed by Juventus from Parma in 2001), Rio Ferdinand (from Leeds to Manchester United in 2002), and Thiago Silva (from Milan to PSG in 2012). The overall transfer expenditure for the most expensive line-up of last season’s big-5 league players totals almost € 700 million. This sum is “only” € 600 million for a 4-4-2 formation. The figures for the 11 big-5 league players with the highest transfer market value are even greater: € 922 million overall and € 721 million for a 4-4-2 formation. Market value Overall 1. Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona) 216 1 5 4 3 8 9 7 6 10 11 4-4-2 line-up 1. Manuel Neuer (FC Bayern München) 28 1 3 4 5 9 7 11
  • 10. Paris SG Monaco Marseille Lyon Lille Toulouse St-Etienne Rennes Bordeaux Lorient Montpellier Nice Reims Nantes Sochaux Guingamp Evian TG Bastia Valenciennes 10 AAnnual Review 2014 Liga Transfer Asset Value Per club* Situation on 1st June 2014 * Not including players on loan or loaned to other clubs Premier League 164 108 102 75 62 59 50 48 47 42 40 38 84 162 273 257 386 385 373 358 Manchester City Chelsea Liverpool Arsenal Manchester United Tottenham Everton Southampton Newcastle Swansea City Aston Villa Stoke City Norwich City Cardiff City Hull City Sunderland West Ham Crystal Palace WBA Fulham Ligue 1 Bundesliga Serie A 121 91 73 45 38 33 30 27 27 23 20 19 15 13 12 72 114 221 488 593 Barcelona Real Madrid Atlético Madrid Athletic Bilbao Real Sociedad Sevilla Valencia Villarreal Celta Vigo Málaga Granada Espanyol Levante Real Betis Getafe Osasuna Real Valladolid Almería Elche Rayo Vallecano 85 67 58 46 42 36 35 35 33 23 19 16 14 14 13 8 29 69 153 278 Ajaccio 142 115 81 75 45 42 40 36 36 35 34 33 28 11 52 104 187 400 Bayern München Dortmund Schalke Leverkusen Wolfsburg M'gladbach Hoffenheim Stuttgart Freiburg Mainz Hamburg Hannover Berlin Frankfurt Nürnberg Augsburg Werder Bremen Braunschweig 138 128 94 59 53 43 35 34 33 33 30 23 21 15 57 99 211 153 213 282 Juventus Roma Napoli Internazionale Milan Fiorentina Lazio Udinese Sampdoria Torino Genoa Atalanta Bergamo Parma Catania Sassuolo Hellas Verona Cagliari Calcio Bologna Livorno Chievo Verona Barcelona tops the big-5 league table for the highest transfer asset value: € 593 million. The market value of squad mem-bers is also very high for Champions League winners Real Madrid: € 488 million. The figure for five other clubs is supe-rior to € 350 million: Bayern Munich (400), Manchester City (386), Chelsea (385), Liverpool (373) and Arsenal (358). Poor results and squad ageing mainly explain the relatively low lev-els observed for prestigious clubs such as Manchester United (273) and Milan (138). The lowest figures by league were re-corded at Ajaccio (€ 8 million), Eintracht Braunschweig (11), Rayo Vallecano (12), Chievo (15) and Fulham (37). This is mainly due to the combination of bad results and short-term contract policies.