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CIES player values: How do they work and who’s the most valuable?

CIES player values: How do they work and who's the most valuable?

Since the dawn of the beautiful game we know as football, people have always argued about who is number one. The only thing that changes is the characteristics by which people evaluate the rankings. Who is the best footballer of all time? Who is the best to come out of England? Which is the greatest team in history? Which manager has the most trophies? In a sport that is all about being on the top a ton of people also enjoy discussing who is the greatest. However, there are two men that decided to take this to the next level.

What are the CIES and the CIES Football observatory?

Surprisingly to most of us, the CIES stands for International Centre for Sports Studies, which is a completely independent study center based in the Swiss town of Neuchâtel. Established in 1995 it is actually a collaborative work of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the University, and the City of Neuchâtel. The International Centre for Sports Studies is also the home of the CIES Football observatory which provides us with this quality and trendy information about our favorite footballers.

The so-called Football observatory has been active for over 15 years, specializing in statistical analysis of our favorite sport. Headed by Dr. Raffaele Poli and Dr. Loïc Ravenel the team's latest discovery that spurred the world of football transfers is their transfer value calculator. It employs a complex algorithm that uses information from over a thousand completed transfers in the top 5 leagues in Europe. The goal is to create a comprehensive up to date ranking of the most valuable football players, taking into consideration their skills, age, club history, current contract and situation, and a lot of other factors. Okay, so after getting familiar with the matter of discussion, let's go ahead and take a look at what the CIES algorithm has prepared for us in terms of the current most valuable footballers.

Top estimated transfer values

Here is the top 10 of the 319th Football observatory Weekly Post:

Player Club Price (Million)
Marcus Rashford Manchester United €165.6
Erling Haaland Borussia Dortmund €152
Trent Alexander-Arnold Liverpool €151.6
Bruno Fernandes Manchester United €151
Kylian Mbappé Paris St-Germain €149.4
Jadon Sancho Borussia Dortmund €148.3
João Félix Atlético Madrid €141.5
Alphonso Davies Bayern München €139.2
Raheem Sterling Manchester City €136.9
Kai Havertz Chelsea €136

As you can see, the CIES’s list is pretty up-to-date and also quite accurate. However, it probably sparks questions in a few people, like for example – where are names such as Neymar, any other Liverpool player besides TAA, and most importantly where are Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo? It seems like the age of the player is prioritized in the equation for an estimated price, as all players in the top 10 are fairly young. Raheem Sterling and Bruno Fernandes, both born in 1994 are the oldest of them all, while the other players are born between ‘98 and ‘00, and the leader Rashford in 1997.

In the meantime, Juventus’ superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is way off the top 10, despite his evergreen performances. At the age of nearly 36, the Portuguese wonder keeps on delivering, but nearing the end of his career, his estimated of €47 Million value puts him at the 131st spot. On the other hand, Lionel Messi, who seems to be facing bigger struggles in his home Barcelona is nearly 40 spots ahead of Cristiano. CIES believes that the Argentinian legend is worth somewhere around €54 Million, which is enough to earn him the 97th place, barely making it into the top 100.

The top 3

Marcus Rashford

Manchester United's one and only Marcus Rashford has de-throned the past leader Kylian Mbappe who's now sitting in 5th place. The Red Devils' academy graduate is yet to put on another team's kit, and with such a high estimated value it might take some time before we see him do it. In fact, the 3 remaining years in Rashford's contract with United is one of the bigger reasons why he's on top of the chart. Furthermore, his immense football skills and spectacular recent form with 14 goals in 25 appearances so far this season, including a Champions League hattrick contribute to his highly-evaluated price. Paired with all the social activities that Rashford has undertaken, mainly the fight to end child poverty in the United Kingdom, we can easily see why the CIES has ranked the 23-year-old Englishman in the first place.

Erling Haaland

Norway's pride Erling Haaland comes second in the CIES player value list. Despite being both younger and seemingly in a better form, the 20-year-old is yet to top this chart. Haaland has managed the impressive 19 goals and 3 assists in 17 club games across all competitions during this season. The player which was once connected to joining the Red Devils and perhaps playing alongside Rashford finds himself in a bit more complicated contract situation, which is negatively affecting his estimated value.

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Alexander-Arnold is in a pretty similar position to Rashford. Born and raised in Liverpool, he joined the club at the age of 6 and has come-up through all of its formations to the point where he's an integral part of the first squad since the age of 20. It's also refreshing to see a player specializing in a defensive position to be this high in a chart like this one. Worth just €400,000 TAA is quite close to taking over the second spot.

Who was the leader in the last edition of the CIES player value list?

Even though Rashford currently tops the table, he hasn't outperformed the last edition's first-place footballer – Kylian Mbappe. PSG's sensation's estimated value has plummeted by nearly 40%. During the summer CIES valued him at €259 Million, which is nearly €100 Million more than what Manchester United's starlet is now valued at. This time around Mbappe ranks on the 5th spot succumbing to yet another United player – Bruno Fernandes.