England 4th in ranking of overseas players; Brazil, France and Argentina dominate

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April 21 – Brazil remains top of the list of countries with most expatriate players plying their trade outside their countries, but England – whose players are historically reckoned to be the poorest travellers – are a surprising fourth in the ranking.

With 1,600 players, of which 74.6% active in top division leagues, Brazil is ahead of France (1,027, 74%) and Argentina (972, 75.5%).

England with 565 players abroad are just ahead of Spain with 559 players abroad. The English figures are boosted by having 103 players in Scotland and 77 in Wales.

When it comes to receiving foreign players from the main export nations, England has 91 players from France but only 22 from Brazil and 18 from Argentina.

Portugal is the leading recipient of Brazilian players with a remarkable 260 in the country.

The balance of player trade is interesting between Spain and England. There are 50 Spanish qualified players in England compared to just seven English qualified players in Spain. The country with the second highest number of imported players from Spain is India with 38.

The CIES Football Observatory data ranks countries during the calendar year 2019. “In total, 186 national associations had at least one player expatriated in the 141 leagues from 93 countries included in the sample. However, altogether, Brazil, France and Argentina provided up to almost one quarter of the total foreign workforce in global football (22.5%),” point out the report authors.

Nigeria leads Africa’s exporting nations with 399 players, ranked 10th. Ghana, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire also make the top 20 list which is dominated by 12 European nations. Japan is the lead Asian exporter of players with 161.

See the full data at https://football-observatory.com/IMG/sites/b5wp/2019/wp292/en/

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