Argentine soccer was always for export. In the foundational and recent times. The best national players end up playing in the major European leagues. And each statistical report confirms it. This is how he marked it this time International Center for Sports Studies (CIES), created in 1995 by FIFA, which in its latest publication confirmed that Argentina is on the world podium of the countries with the most footballers playing abroad, behind Brazil and France.
According to the CIES Football Observatory report, in 2019 Brazil had 1,600 players competing outside its territory, of which 74.6 percent played in First Division leagues. France, meanwhile, had 1,027 footballers in that condition, with 74 percent in First. In third place was Argentina, with 972 players, 75.5 percent of whom participated in each country’s top division championships.
The report highlights that the majority of Brazilian players operate in Portugal, which is logical because of the historical relationship between both countries, in front of Italy and Japan, a market always adept at Brazilians. The French, as might be supposed, participate in geographically close leagues: England, Belgium and Luxembourg, of a clearly lower level.
Nigeria is the main African exporting country, with 399 players abroad during 2019, while Japan is the main Asian country (161) in this international ranking.
Now, where did the Argentines play in 2019? Chile was the first market for national footballers, with 92 cases, followed by Mexico (62) and Spain (59).
nullLionel Messi is the leading figure in Argentine football and commands the 972 who were abroad last year. Of course the Rosario did not even go through the Lower Divisions in this country, although it was in the children’s divisions at Newell’s. Leo was formed in The farmhouse, the Barcelona youth team, and since 2003 plays in the First Division.
Among the 59 Argentines in Spain, Ángel Correa (Atlético de Madrid), Lucas Ocampos (Sevilla) and Matías Vargas (Spanish), three national team players.
Lucas Passerini He was the scorer of the Chilean tournament in 2019, with 14 goals. The Argentine born in Formosa 26 years ago plays in Palestinian. Also notable for their shouts were Tobías Figueroa (Antofagasta), Mauro Quiroga (Curicó), Juan Sánchez Sotelo (Huachipato) and Leandro Benegas (Universidad de Chile).
Monterrey is the current champion of Mexican soccer. At the end of last year he won the tournament, on penalties, against America. Led by the also Argentinean Antonio Mohamed, Marcelo Barovero, Nicolás Sánchez, Leonel Vangioni, Rogelio Funes Mori, José María Basanta and Maximiliano Meza were on the campus. The North American country team played the Club World Cup and lost the semifinal to Liverpool 2-1. Nothing bad.
According to the CIES report, a total of 186 national soccer associations had last year at least one expatriate player in the 141 leagues of 93 countries included in the sample.
However, taken together, Brazil, France and Argentina provided up to almost a quarter of the total foreign workforce in world soccer (22.5%), which shows the interest in the players from these countries and, logically, the search for the footballers themselves for first-rate markets or simply for others where they can develop and take advantage for a few years to ensure the future before to return to the country.
Precisely this trio formed by Brazil, France and Argentina is the largest player exporter in recent years. The places remain, but the numbers rose considerably since 2017.
Three years ago, Brazil had 1,192 footballers abroad, in the May 2018 report it already had 1,236 and now the list has increased to 1,600. France, for its part, had 776 expatriate footballers in 2017, while the number rose to 821 in 2018 and reached 1,027 last year.
The same happened with Argentina, which went from 734 players competing away from home in 2017 to 760 in 2018 and 972 during 2019. The trend, of course, is evidently on the rise.
However, five years ago Argentina was in second place in the world report, behind Brazil. On that occasion, CIES published in its report in October 2015 that Brazil had 1,784 players abroad, while those in Argentina were 929 and those in France, 758.
The International Center for Sports Studies is based in Neuchatel, Switzerland, the country where FIFA is based, and uses a multidisciplinary approach that includes law, sociology, geography, history and management. Thus, it provides high-level research, education and consulting services for the world of sports. And reports like this help to observe the radiography of the world soccer market. Where Argentina continues to be a cradle of export talent.