The Guardian picked up on an interesting data story yesterday, highlighting the research by the financial advisors Grant Thornton that only 16 English players have appeared in the Champions League final in its 15 year history. Not enough, you might think, but then only 3 English clubs have got to the final (ManU 1999, Liverpool 2005, 2007, Arsenal 2006). What this research really points out is that English players don’t “travel”. Very few of our top players move to clubs abroad, and Premiership clubs are cash-rich so can import players from all over the world.
If you look at the French team, almost all of their players are in foreign leagues. However, in the last World Cup, Italy had a squad 100% based in their domestic league. Even England had Beckham (Real Madrid) and Hargreaves (Bayern Munich) playing abroad. And Italian clubs and players have dominated the Champions League
Here’s the table:
|Top ten countries who have supplied the most players in Champions League finals||No. of finalists||% of overall total||Population|
Source: Grant Thornton, CIA World Factbook
Lesson: buy Italian players. Or an Italian club.