CIES research group reported that young footballers are rewarded in France but not in Italy. The beautiful country is not very attractive for new talents.
It is sad to say that Serie A is a mirror of the country. Once more, we are here reporting about facts, not ideas, with a numerical value associated and incontestable.
According to a recent research performed by CIES, the independent football observatory, those young talents wishing to make a career in football do not have to come to Italy but in France or Spain. Data are clear, League 1, the French football league, is a heaven for young players as well as the Spanish league, La Liga.
The research that we are analyzing is reporting numerical data of the players who debuted since July 1st, 2016 in the big-5 European Leagues. As previously stated, the French league, Ligue 1, leads the ranking followed by La Liga, the Spanish championship, and by Bundesliga, Serie A, and the Premier League.
29 young talents of the League 1 played a total of 11’129 minutes while 19 players collected 4’869 minutes in La Liga. The German Bundesliga, which is doing so well in terms of revenues generated from the stadiums and sponsorships, sits in third position (16 players – 2’208 minutes played). The Italian Serie A is the second to last in this special ranking only ahead of the British Premier League. The Italian clubs fielded only 15 debutants letting them play only 2’181 minutes while the rich Premier League rewarded 12 footballers with 907 minutes on the pitch.
That being said, let’s check which are those footballers that the Italian clubs fielded for the first time in their careers. It’s interesting to know that the first debutant in the Italian Serie A is Pol Lirola, a player owned by Sassuolo that is well known to be a side willing to launch many young talents. Lirola played 1’022 minutes in the period that goes from July 2016 to January 2017. The number one Italian debutant is the son of a former great striker who played for Parma, Sampdoria, and Fiorentina scoring several goals, Enrico Chiesa. His son, Federico Chiesa, is actually playing for Fiorentina as well and Della Valle-owned team allowed him to debut and often play. Although according to the research Federico Chiesa collected slightly more than 500 minutes in the period of reference, the talented winger recently convinced his coach, Paulo Sousa, to start him several times. Undoubtedly, he has a great future in front of him.
On the basis of CIES research, I would like to analyze the reasons why the Italian clubs are not willing to field young debutants. The only answer that pop-up in my mind is that there is too much pressure in the Italian Serie A. Several times, the Italian clubs face fierce criticisms from their fans for poor results on the pitch and this factor closes the door to the young players. Clubs like Juventus, Roma, Napoli, Inter, and AC Milan seem not to be ready to challenge the crowds in order to debut youngsters. I also believe that we cannot compare the Italian Serie A with the British Premier League. In this historical moment, Serie A is considered a secondary league due to the economic issues that the country and several clubs of the Bel Paese are experiencing. The Premier League, however, is considered the richest league and in my opinion the British clubs are keener to buy the excellence of football rather than gambling on prospect talents. I can understand that having great economic possibilities the reach British teams prefer not to risk but I absolutely cannot believe that the Italian clubs are not giving space to young talents.