Barca Players Are The Shortest, Inter Players Oldest – Football Survey
Posted: 22 Jan 2011 01:26 AM PST
European footballers are on average playing at the top level until they are older, growing taller and running faster, according to a study of football across the continent published on Wednesday.
The survey, of more than 13,000 players at 534 clubs across 36 leagues by the Swiss-based Professional Football Players Observatory (PFPO), also shows:
* Barcelona has, on average, the shortest team in Europe
* Manchester United has the most stable squad
* European champion Inter Milan has the oldest squad
* Tottenham Hotspur has more active internationals than any other club on the continent
Raffaele Poli, one of the study’s co-authors based at the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland, has been compiling data on European footballers since 2005 and said some trends have emerged since the first report was published three years ago.
“We are seeing that players in the top leagues are becoming older, faster and are getting taller,” he told Reuters.
“In general too, more than 45.7 per cent move internationally during their career but players playing at the club where they developed has fallen from 26 per cent three years ago to 23.4 per cent.
“There is also an increasing internationalisation of European soccer with less players—23 per cent compared to 26 per cent three years ago—staying at the club or in the country where they developed.’’
Barcelona, widely tipped to win both the Spanish and Champions Leagues this season, is on average the shortest team in Europe with an average height of 1.77 metres (5ft 9ins), while the tallest sides are SV Mattersburg of Austria and Volyn Lutsk of Ukraine at 1.86m (6ft 1ins).
United’s squad is the most stable with the average player staying 5.71 years, compared to the “newest” team in Europe, Olympiakos Nicosia of Cyprus which signed 95 per cent of its players during 2010.
Olymnpiakos also has the greatest number of expatriates appearing for it: 85 per cent.
European champion Inter Milan could prove that experience counts for something as its average age is 29.6 years, compared to Europe’s youngest team, JFK Olimps Riga of Latvia, whose average age is 19.02 years.