The CIES Football Observatory has analysed 80 football associations and measured the number of players who have moved to foreign clubs – 135 leagues in the world as expatriates since 2017
At least fifty-eight (58) Nigerian footballers have moved abroad since 2017, in what’s an increase of 21%, according to the report.
The players have moved to at least one of the 135 leagues worldwide.
Top of the pile on the list of the highest cross-border movements in the last five years are French footballers. At least 208 footballers from France have moved abroad and identify as expatriates. The Netherlands, with at least 137 footballers follows. Colombia takes a high place on the list with 124 footballers moving abroad since 2017.
Germany as a result of Turkish immigrants born in Germany moving back to Turkey also have a significant increase with 105 footballers moving, and representing a 31% increase.
English footballers are also on the list with many moving to other countries within the UK and the Republic of Ireland. It represents a 25% increase in the number of English footballers abroad.
Croatia, Ghana, Portugal, Denmark and Nigeria complete the list of top ten countries with the highest foreign movements in the last five years, in absolute terms.
In relative terms, among nations with at least 100 expatriates, the highest rises were recorded in Venezuela (+86%), the Netherlands (+60%) and Austria (+51%).
Nigeria has a total of 339 expatriate footballers, closely followed in Africa by Ghana with 293 footballers in foreign countries.
Brazil has the highest in the world at 1,219, while France (978), Argentina (815), England (525), Colombia (425), Germany (441), the Netherlands (367), Spain (409), Croatia (400), are the only countries with more expatriate footballers than Nigeria.