The UEFA Champions League Final is one of the biggest sport events worldwide and probably the biggest event in club football. As a football enthusiast I worked on a series of maps in the last days featuring the national distribution of player appearances and goals made in the Champions League Finals, starting from the final in 1993, which was the beginning of the UEFA Champions League era, until the final this year (2015) between FC Barcelona and Juventus Turin. I hope you enjoy the maps. If you are interested you can also check out my most viewed map of national football team kit suppliers or you can take the quiz of football stadiums.
You can use the full screen button in the top left corner to extent the size of the map.
In the map above you can see the player appearances of all finals from 1993 to 2015. There were some interesting patterns and features of the data, which I listed here:
There was an increase of the number of nations appearing in the finals. From 1993 – 2003 there were only 4 finals with more than 9 different country men. However, in each of the following finals at least 10 different country men were on the pitch.
All in all there were 48 different nations appearing in the Finals.
The finals with the lowest number of different country men were in 1993 and 1995 (6 nations). 18 different country men were playing in the final between AC Milan and FC Liverpool in 2005 – the highest number of all finals.
The team of Inter Milan in the final of 2010 had the lowest number of country men from the country of the club. With Marco Materazzi only one player from Italy played in the final for Inter – as a substitute, coming on the pitch in minute 90+2′. The team of Bayern Munich in the final 1999 has the top position of most players coming from the country in which the city of the club is located, with 12 German players.
Both, the final 2000 between Real Madrid and FC Valencia and the final 2003 between Juventus F.C. and A.C. Milan share the most players from one nation in a final. with 15 players being Spanish in 2000 and Italian in 2003.
Being a small country and without having a team from their country reaching any UEFA Champions League Final, Croatian players are one of the most regularly appearing country men in the finals. In 13 different finals at least one Croatian player appeared. Interesting about that: This is the same amount of finals as Italian or Argentine players appear in a Champions League final and more finals than for Portuguese or English players.
The country with most final appearances of at least one player is France with 20 finals in which at least one French player appeared.
The country with most total appearances of players (players who participated more than once were also only counted once) is Spain with 62 different players in the finals, followed by Germany (55) and Italy (48).
The only player from Asia playing in a final was Ji-Sung Park (South Korea).
In the final 2011 players from almost every continental football confederation appeared on the pitch (only exception was the Oceania Football Confederation OFC).
The non-European country with most player appearances in Champions League finals was Brazil. In 18 finals at least one Brazilian player was on the pitch (overall rank 2), with 31 different players coming from Brazil (overall rank 5).
If you also find something interesting about the maps feel free to share it with others in the comments.
When hovering over the circles you can see the names of the players and the year each of them made a goal.
There are also some interesting notes for the goals:
Not very surprisingly the most goals in Champions League finals were made by Spanish players (9), followed by German and Italian players (7), as these are the countries with the highest number of players appeared in the finals.
Somehow French players weren’t too good with making goals. From 40 different French players in 20 finals only 3 goals were made by French men.
The French men probably need a player like Samuel Eto’o, who is not just the only Cameroonian player in Champions League Finals, but also one of the only players who played in at least 3 finals and made a goal in two different finals.
The Russian player Dmitri Alenichev is also the only player from his country who ever appeared in a Champions League Final. In 2004 he was the first and last player from Russia (for now) in a final, coming as a substitute in minute 60′ and made a goal 15 minutes later. When calculating the number of goals over minutes played by country men, this is by far the best result.
If an Argentine player makes a goal, you can be sure he will make another one (statistically speaking). The six goals from Argentine players were made by Hernan Crespo, Diego Milito and Lionel Messi, all of them made two goals in their finals. In case of Lionel Messi: 2 goals in 2 different finals.