We are in a World Cup year, which means Italians turn all their thoughts to “Gli Azzurri” with dreams of another title coming back to Italia from Brazil in just a few weeks. While most experts look to Germany and Brazil as favorites (alas, USA, can you escape the “group of death?”) it is hard to count out Italy any time during the craziness and excitement around the world’s most anticipated sporting event.
After all, Italians have bemoaned the chaos of Serie A for years, with clubs involved in scandal, internal fighting and controversy which has made a lot of the focus on success more about the national team than many of the clubs themselves. However much of that appears to be changing, as new blood at the club level in terms of ownership and investment seems to be raising the competitive profile of Serie A and its clubs back towards the top of the five power leagues in European soccer, and an analysis this week from Bloomberg Sports might be proving those investments, including the one by American James Pallotta, right.
The global business analytics giant, through its sports vertical BSports, announced its second annual “Power 50,” which looks at the top players in the five elite European soccer leagues through analytics. While most casual fans, especially those in the States, would jump to thoughts of the Barclays Premier League and its elite clubs or LaLiga and its bold names or even the recent resurgent teams in the Bundesliga, it is the clubs of Serie A that pretty surprisingly netted out on top.
While Luis Suarez of Liverpool FC topped the index with a BSports Rating (BSR) of 86.02, Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona (85.43) was second, Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Paris Saint Germain (84.91) third and Christiano Ronaldo (84.59) of Champions League finalists Real Madrid fourth, the clubs, and the league, with the most players on the Top 50 list really revolve around Italia.
Of the five European leagues examined, Serie A (14) topped the Premier League (13) and La Liga (12) with the most players, and while Atlético de Madrid (8) had the most from one club, AS Roma (7; Kevin Strootman was the fifth ranked player and highest for both the club and the league), and Juventus (7; Carlos Teves was highest at 15), were behind them, way ahead of EPL Champ Manchester City (4). And on the nationality side, there were seven Italians to make the list with English (5), Spanish (5), and Brazilian (5) coming in behind.
“In this exciting World Cup year, we are pleased today to unveil our second edition of the BSports Power 50,” Bill Squadron, President of Bloomberg Sports added in the release. “The Power 50 index stirred healthy debate among fans and experts during its inaugural year, demonstrating a clear appetite from fans across the globe for advanced football analytics. This index, evaluating players purely from the data, has become a reliable measuring stick for player performance in the minds of the fans.”
Now whether that support, and the data, holds up when athletes assemble to play together for their mother country in South America remains to be seen. But for fans of Italian soccer, its native players and its clubs, things are really looking up.
Read the full BSports list of players along with a more detailed explanation of the methodology.