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Neyman high-fives teammate Messi
Reuters/Albert Gea
Yeah, I’d definitely rather live in Brazil.

A visual guide to where World Cup players spend most of their time

Nikhil Sonnad
By Nikhil Sonnad


From our Obsession


The consequences of arbitrary lines.

The World Cup is about people from all over the world coming together to battle over the superiority of their respective nations. Amongst the patriotic chest-beating, it’s worth remembering that during the four years in between each cup, most of the players are loyal to clubs far from home.

Using data prepared by The Guardian, Quartz put together a comprehensive grid showing where World Cup players devote their time and deploy their talents between tournaments. We found that 65% of them are based outside their home countries:


Europe is the overwhelmingly dominant destination for players, regardless of their country of origin:


And Europeans almost never play outside their continent:


Nevertheless, each country will be fielding at least one player from a local club:


But for Ghana, Ivory Coast, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Uruguay, it will be one and only one:


Russia and England are the most home-grown teams, with the greatest percentage of players who belong to local clubs:


Here’s the full-size grid, which contains many other insights. It reveals, among other things, regions that have no overlap (like Europeans in the United States); the fact that some top players are now based in China; and also that Africa and South America have almost nobody from outside their region playing for their clubs.


Correction: An earlier version of these charts incorrectly placed Mexico in South America.

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