MOSCOW: Three quarters of the players heading for the World Cup finals in Moscow next week come from European clubs according to a survey by the European Club Association.
Some 544 players from the 32 different 23-man squads are registered with clubs in UEFA member countries. They include 132 based in England after Brazil’s Fred joined Manchester United on Tuesday and Switzerland captain Stephan Lichtsteiner signed for Arsenal.
Manchester City has the biggest contingent with 16 players followed by Real Madrid (15) and Barcelona (14).
Asian clubs supply 82 players, or 11 percent, to the World Cup. Clubs in North and Central America and the Caribbean provide 54 players. The 19 United States-based players selected are from 11 different clubs.
Only 35 players are with South American clubs, including three home-based players each for Argentina, Brazil and Colombia. African clubs have 21 players selected, with Senegal picking all its players from teams in other countries. Nigeria has one home-based player.
The best-represented non-Europeans are Al-Ahli and Al-Hilal of Saud Arabia, each with nine players on duty in Russia.
The leading represented countries are England with 130 players followed by Spain (81) and Germany (68).
Only five players in total from the 14 participating European national teams are playing for clubs outside of Europe
ECA general secretary Michele Centenaro said: “The study demonstrates that European clubs are the foundation of the game, providing nearly three out of four of the players for the tournament.”