Despite a tough season, Manchester United shares the title with Bayern Munich as the clubs with the most player representation at this year’s World Cup.


According to research released by the European Club Association (ECA) Manchester United and current German Champions, FC Bayern Munich have released the highest number of players for the tournament which begins in Brazil on Thursday, both with 14 players released and United represented in 9 different national teams.


The research also found that more than 16% (119) of the World Cup participants are playing their football in England.


The ECA Player Release Analysis is undertaken by the ECA at the occasion of every major national team tournament including, but not limited to, the FIFA World Cup and the UEFA EURO.


The purpose of the research is to highlight the number and origin of clubs involved in releasing players for the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil.


The report also includes a comprehensive analysis by club, country and confederation as well as a comparison with statistics from the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa.


Amongst others, the report highlights the following facts and figures:


  • In total, 297 clubs from around the world are involved in releasing players to the World Cup. 190 of these clubs are from Europe.
  • 563 players from a total of 736 (76.5%) are registered with European clubs.
  • The 563 players playing in Europe represent clubs from 23 different European countries.
  • 12 out of the 13 European National Teams are exclusively composed of players registered with European clubs. Only exception: Bosnia-Herzegovina (Zvjezdan Misimovic plays for Guizhour Renhe FC in China). 
  • All 23 players of the Russian National Team are registered with clubs in Russia.


In his foreword, ECA Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge underlines the important contribution clubs make to the success of the World Cup stating:


“There is no question that it is the players’ talent and skills that drive the excitement of the game.


“Nevertheless, it is important as well to pay tribute to the many clubs around the world that work with these players day-in and day-out, contributing to and fostering their development starting at a very young age.


“The clubs are the roots of football and invest a lot of time, effort and money into the player’s development – both on and off the pitch. 


“With more than 75% of these players being registered with a European club, the figures highlight the great contribution European club football makes to the success of the FIFA World Cup.”