Croatia Ranks 8th on World Expatriate Footballers List

After finding out four Croats made it to the Champions League final for the first time in history, another interesting statistic turns up: according to the CIES Football Observatory monthly report, Croatia ranks surprisingly high on the world list of expatriate footballers.

The report analysed 137 leagues of 93 national associations worldwide, including all expatriate players present in the first team squads of clubs up to May 1st 2017. Bench players were also included where a list of substitutes was available – in this case, 116 out of 137 leagues. The final sample is made out of 12.051 expatriate footballers playing in 2120 clubs, resulting in an average of 5.7 expatriates per club.

Croatia ranks 8th on the list with 323 expatriate footballers currently present on the field worldwide, 92% of those playing for clubs in UEFA countries. The world leader in exporting football players is Brazil with a total of 1202 expatriates, followed by France (781), Argentina (753), Serbia (460) and England (451); Croatia comes closer to Germany (335) and Spain (362). It's interesting to note the first three countries on the list together make up 22.7% of the total number of expatriate players worldwide, that percentage increasing to 43.5% if we take only the top ten on the list into account.

Seeing that Croatia is by far the smallest out of all listed countries, we can safely call ourselves the number one exporter of football players. That's not really a title to be proud of: as much as it points to the impressive quality of Croatian athletes, it's disappointing to see our greatest players sold to foreign clubs as soon as someone shows interest.

Here's a list of 25 principal exporters:


CIES Football Observatory monthly report, May 2017


Source: Jutarnji