Barca Really Are Midgets and Other Fascinating Football Stats

The Demographic Study of Footballers in Europe proves that a good little un’ beats a good big un, why England have a rubbish national team, and that Brazilians love to travel…
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Despite a decent goal return in Catalunya, the sight of Zlatan Ibrahimovic Gulliver-ing about as his Lilliputian team-mates tika-taka’d the arse off teams never looked right. And in replacing the moody Swede with David Villa, they’re not only a better side but are now officially the smallest team in Europe, with an average height 1.77m.

The most interesting thing about that statistic is that Barca are bucking the trend, as footballers across Europe are getting taller.

We know this thanks to the exhaustive work of The Demographic Study of Footballers in Europe. And they didn’t stop there…

Characteristics of a typical European team

24.5 players

5.2 aged 21 or under

8.1 1.85cm or taller

5.7 club trained

8.2 expatriates (of whom 1.1 are Brazilians)

11.2 having migrated internally

7.2 recruited from abroad

9.3 signed in 2010 (of whom 0.9 are on loan)

Oldest club (average age) FC Internazionale Milano (ITA): 29.61 years

Youngest club (average age) JFK Olimps Riga (LVA): 19.02 years

Tallest clubs (average height) SV Mattersburg (AUT) and FC Volyn Lutsk (UKR): 186.68cm

Shortest club (average height) FC Barcelona (ESP): 177.38cm

Club with the most active internationals: Tottenham Hotspur FC (ENG): 22 active internationals

Club with the greatest % of expatriates in the squad: Olympiakos Nicosia FC (CYP): 85.0%

Most stable club (average stay): Manchester United (ENG): 5.71 seasons

Clubs with the greatest % of players signed in 2010: Olympiakos Nicosia FC (CYP): 95.0%

Club loaning the most players to other clubs of the sample: Udinese Calcio (ITA): 14 players

Club with the greatest % of players on loan: FC Unirea Urziceni (ROM): 38.1%

These findings are just a selection from the full Demographic Study of Footballers in Europe 2011. Go here to view the document or order a copy of the full study.

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