Best stepping-stone clubs: Ajax ahead of Benfica

10april

The 291st Weekly Post of the CIES Football Observatory highlights the main clubs from where current big-5 league players departed to reach the five major European leagues. At the top of the stepping-stone club rankings are three regular European Cup participants: AFC Ajax (22 players currently in the big-5 were recruited there), SL Benfica (21) and RB Salzburg (20).

In the top 15 positions also are three Belgian teams (KRC GenkRSC Anderlecht and Club Brugge KV), two further Portuguese clubs (Sporting Clube de Portugal and FC Porto), an additional Dutch one (PSV Eindhoven), as well Swiss (FC Basel), Croatian (Dinamo Zagreb) and Danish (FC København) sides.

The B-teams of Real Madrid (4th) and FC Barcelona (11th) also figure high in the rankings.

The first non-European team is Boca Juniors (15th).

The 54th edition of the CIES Football Observatory Monthly Report broadens the analysis by revealing that recruitment from a non-big-5 league team is the most common way of entering the five major European leagues (48%), followed by advancement from the youth academy or the B-team of a big-5 league club (39%, up to 50% for players who made their debut in the Spanish Liga) and the promotion from a second division of the club of belonging (13%).

About the CIES Football Observatory

The CIES Football Observatory is a research group within the International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES). Created in 2005 by Dr. Raffaele Poli and Dr. Loïc Ravenel, the CIES Football Observatory currently comprises a staff of four full-time permanent researchers who specialise in the statistical analysis of football. Click here for more information.

About the CIES

The International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) is an independent study centre located in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. It was created in 1995 as a joint venture between the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the University of Neuchâtel, the City and State of Neuchatel. Click here for more information. Click here for more information.

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Email: football.observatory@cies.ch