December 3 – Lionel Messi heads a table of outfield players who have played the highest percentage of domestic league minutes in the big-5 league team in the 2010s.
The analysis by the CIES Football Observatory shows the Argentinean featured in 83.4% of total minutes played by Barcelona in LaLiga.
Overall Messi is the second highest for minutes played behind Olympique Marseilles goalkeeper Steve Mandanda who was present in 84.2% minutes played by OM in the French league over the decade.
“FC Barcelona’s case shows that territorial anchoring can be a plus even for a global club. Their success is for the most part linked to the exceptional qualities of home-grown players such as Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andrés Iniesta, Gerard Piqué or Sergio Busquets,” say the CIES authors.
“Although money is more than ever a key factor, other elements come into play. Squad stability stemming from good strategic planning, as well as the ability of clubs to get the best out of the talents trained in their youth academies and to stimulate a strong sense of belonging to all parties concerned (players, staff, supporters, etc.), remain crucial success criteria even in the today’s hyper-commercial and globalised environment.”
Goalkeepers and defenders dominate the top 50 with Manchester United’s David de Gea being the most played Premier League player, featuring 77.1% of the time and ranking fourth in the overall list.
Source: CIES Football Observatory
See the full ranking at https://football-observatory.com/IMG/sites/b5wp/2019/wp276/en/