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UEFA Champions League Titles by Players' Nationalities

Spain Dominates—And Who's That One American?

Published May 03, 2019

With the Champions League semifinals upon us, I got curious about what country's players had won the most titles? The answer was not terribly surprising, but the magnitude of it certainly was:

To clarify, this does not mean that 161 Spanish players have won the UEFA Champions League—it means that a Spanish player has won the Champions League 161 times.

This data only dates back to 1992 (the year of the transformation from the European Cup to the more ceremonious Champions League), so the recent dominance of FC Barcelona and Real Madrid overwhelms the data and underlies Spain's utter dominance here.

It is also noteworthy to consider the effect of squad players on a graph like this. Teams in Europe's Big Five leagues are made up of squads of about 25 players, but on average only about 15-18 make regular appearances. Due to foreign player restrictions, teams most often use young domestic players to fill the least valuable positions in the squad; this practice tends to exaggerate these figures. Large squad numbers are also why someone like Jovan Kirovski (who?) has as many Champions League titles as David Villa.

To see all the names of Champions League Winners, take a look at the source of my data, this Wikipedia article on European Cup and UEFA Champions League winning players. The graph visualization is provided by Visme.co.

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