Give or take a few late additions or drop outs, there will be 830 players representing their various countries at the start of the World Cup in Qatar. Inevitably, the majority of those players have been drawn from the stronger European leagues. They have the money and resources to attract the best global talent, and most squads of the major teams these days are usually composed of players from a variety of nationalities.
With the World Cup occurring in the middle of the season this time, this may not necessarily be a good thing for them. Club managers and doctors will be holding their breath that star players do not pick up any significant injuries whilst they are away on international duty. There will also be feats what impact the additional physical and mental strain that those players will be subject to could have on title challenges and European football aspirations when they do eventually re-join their clubs.
Player call-ups per club
Whilst the traditional big names of world football are amongst those with the most representation at the World Cup, they do not exclusively sit at the top of the list.
For example, whilst Bayern Munich top the list with 17 World Cup absentees, closely followed by Manchester City, and Barcelona, with 16 each, Qatari champions Al-Sadd are less well-known.
They have 15 players in World Cup squads, 13 of them with the host nation.
Similarly Saudi club Al-Hilal will have as many players at the World Cup as Chelsea – 12 in all – but whereas the London side will be supplying players to seven different national teams, Al-Hilal will mainly be furnishing the Saudi national squad.
Although Tottenham have only (comparatively!) players away on World Cup duty, they have an argument to claim that they have the most diverse representation in Qatar. They have two Englishmen – Harry Kane, and Eric Dier – followed by nine other different nationalities at the tournament.
Pape Matar Sarr will represent Senegal, Ben Davies Wales, Cristian Romero Argentina, Pierre-Emile Hojberg Denmark, Hugo Lloris France, Ivan Perišić Croatia, Richarlison Brazil, Rodrigo Bentacur Uruguay, and, if fit, Heung son-min, South Korea.
Players by League
Perhaps not surprisingly, as the most dominant league in Europe, and globally as well, the Premier League is supplying the most players to the World Cup, 134 in all.
That is 51 more than La Liga in second place with 83, followed by the Bundesliga with 76. Serie A is supplying 67 players, a figure that would have been much higher had Italy actually qualified for the World Cup. Ligue 1 is providing 56 players.
As regards the Premier League it is an indication of its strength, that every single club has been affected by World Cup call ups.
Whilst the two Manchester clubs are the most impacted, even Southampton, Crystal palace and Bournemouth will have two players away with their countries.
It does not matter their position in the league either, Wolves may be propping up the table at the moment, but that has not stopped six members of their squad receiving international call-ups, whilst fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest must do without five players for the duration of the tournament.
Other English Leagues represented
To illustrate the strength in depth of English football, there are also a number of players heading to the World Cup from the Championship and even Leagues One and Two.
A total of 16 players will be at the World Cup representing 14 Championship clubs, whilst Matthew Smith and Joe Morrell of MK Dons and Portsmouth will be flying the League One flag for Wales at the World Cup, and their international team mates Chris Gunter and Jonny Williams will make sure that League Two are also represented. They currently play for AFC Wimbledon and Swindon Town.
FIFA has promised to pay US $209 million to clubs in total for the participation of their players at the World Cup.
Whilst players remain involved in the tournament, clubs will receive US $10,000 per player per day.
Payments will be made to all the clubs a player has played for in the two years leading up to the World Cup itself.
Four years ago, the equivalent daily rate was US $8,530 and, in the end, FIFA distributed money to more than 400 clubs in 63 countries in terms of compensation.
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