Are soccer players older now than before? Aging trends and market value in the last three decades of the UEFA Champions League
UNIVERSAL IDENTIFIER: http://hdl.handle.net/11093/2718
UNESCO SUBJECT: 2411.06 Fisiología del Ejercicio ; 6109.07 Evaluación del Rendimiento ; 5206.02 Distribución de Edad
DOCUMENT TYPE: article
The aims of the current study were to analyze the evolution of players’ age in the UEFA Champions League since the start of its modern-day format in 1992–1993 up until 2017–2018 and to determine how the players’ age relates to their market value. The sample consisted of all players participating in the UEFA Champions League from the 1992–1993 to 2017–2018 seasons (n = 16062). The following variables were used in this study: players’ age, number of seasons in the club, number of Champions Leagues won, team performance, and market value of the player in the season. Data were examined using a one-way ANOVA and a linear regression. The main finding of the current study is that an aging trend has occurred in the last three decades in the Champions League. A significant increase in average players’ age (>1.6 years) was observed, rising from an age of 24.9 to 26.5 years. Goalkeepers and Center Backs tend to peak later than attackers, and their peak performance can last until an age of about 31 years. Finally, an inverted-U curve defines the association between market value and age, with peak value appearing in the 26–30 age range. These results provide useful information regarding at which age soccer players are likely to perform at the highest level, as well as the age they are likely to have the highest market value.
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