Football player

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from List of footballers)

alt=A men's a sociation football player (Lionel Messi)
A men's association football player (Lionel Messi)

A football player or footballer is a sportsperson who plays one of the different types of football. The main types of football are association football, American football, Canadian football, Australian rules football, Gaelic football, rugby league, and rugby union.

It has been estimated that there are 250 million association football players in the world,[1] and many play other forms of football.


Jean-Pierre Papin has described football as a "universal language".[2] Footballers across the world and at almost any level may regularly attract large crowds of spectators, and players are the focal points of widespread social phenomena such as association football culture.

Footballers generally begin as amateurs and the best players progress to become professional players. Normally they start at a youth team (any local team) and from there, based on skill and talent, scouts offer contracts. Once signed, some learn to play better football and a few advance to the senior or professional teams.


Pay in some top men's leagues is significantly higher than in other jobs. Players in the Premier League earn an average of $3 million per year.[3] In the wealthiest clubs in European football leagues, men earn an average $7.19 million per year.[4] The best players of those clubs can earn up to $260 million per year.[5]

However, only a fraction of men's professional football players are paid at this level. Wages may be somewhat more moderate in other divisions and leagues. For example, the average annual salary for footballers in Major League Soccer (MLS) is $530,262 as of May 2023.[6]

Average salaries in women's leagues are far lower. For example, players in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), which started in 2012, earn an average of $54,000 per year as of May 2022.[7] For the first time in 2022, the NWSL guaranteed players a living wage. The minimum salary in 2023 is $36,400 to ensure players do not need second or third jobs to survive.[8]


José Mourinho is a retired football player who post-retirement has worked as a football manager.
José Mourinho is a retired football player who post-retirement has worked as a football manager.
Pia Sundhage is a retired football player who post-retirement has worked as the football manager for the United States and Sweden national teams.
Pia Sundhage is a retired football player who post-retirement has worked as the football manager for the United States and Sweden national teams.

A minority of retired footballers continue working full-time in football, for instance as football managers. A 1979 study reported that former first-team ballplayers were over-represented as top-ranking executives in their companies and had greater income mobility than second-teamers and reserves.[9] However, some experience chronic health issues, see below.

Skills and specialties[edit]

Association football specialties (positions)[edit]

In association football, there are four traditional types of specialties (positions): goalkeepers (goalies), defenders (full-backs), midfielders (half-backs), and forwards (attackers). Special purpose positions include such performers as sweepers, stoppers, second forwards (under-attackers), wingers, insiders, etc.

  • Goalkeepers: good reflexes, communication with defence, one-on-one ability, command of the penalty area and aerial intelligence.[10]
  • Centre-backs: good heading and tackling ability, height, bravery in attempting challenges, and concentration.[11]
  • Wingers: pace, technical ability like dribbling and close control, off-the-ball intelligence, creativity.[14]
  • Forwards: finishing ability, composure, technical ability, heading ability, pace, off-the-ball intelligence.[15]

American football[edit]

The American football teams' positions are categorized by a form of play where each of them has its spectrum of positions. Those are offensive, defensive, and special teams.

Australian football[edit]

Psychological aspects of performance[edit]

Research shows that association football players who take less than 200 milliseconds after the referee blows their whistle to make a penalty kick are significantly less likely to score than those who take over a second.[16][17]

Health issues[edit]

Cristiano Ronaldo, an example of a "lean and muscular" men's association football player
Faith Ikidi, an example of a "lean and muscular" women's association football player

An Irish 2002 study of association and Gaelic football players characterized players as "lean and muscular with a reasonably high level of capacity in all areas of physical performance".[18] The opposite is the case for American football, where obesity could be the cause of grave health problems.[19]

A 2000 study documented injuries sustained by Czech [association] football players at all levels:[20]

Trauma was the cause of 81.5% of the injuries, and overuse was the cause of 18.5%. Joint sprains predominated (30%), followed by fractures (16%), muscle strains (15%), ligament ruptures (12%), meniscal tears and contusions (8%), and other injuries. Injuries to the knee were most prevalent (29%), followed by injuries to the ankle (19%) and spine (9%). More injuries occurred during games (59%) than in practice.

[21] Patellar tendinitis (knee pain) is considered an injury that comes from overexertion, which also happens to other athletes of virtually every sport. It is a common problem that football players develop and can usually be treated by a quadriceps strengthening program. Jumping activities place particularly high strains on the tendon and with repetitive jumping, tearing and injury of the tendon can occur. The chronic injury and healing response results in inflammation and localized pain.[22]

Although levels of depression and pain in retired football players are on par with the societal average,[23] some players suffer from post-retirement chronic injuries. Head injuries are a particular concern.

Life expectancy[edit]

Studies have long shown former American football NFL players have a longer life expectancy than the general public or males with a similar age and race distribution, but a higher rate of cardiovascular issues.[24] A study comparing the deaths of former Major League Baseball players found baseball players lived longer still, perhaps suggesting a "healthy worker" bias where NFL athletes lived less long than they would otherwise have, despite their longer than average life expectancy.[25] A 2009 review of the evidence in the American Journal of Medicine concluded the existing evidence "did not suggest an increased mortality" but does "suggest increased cardiovascular risk..., particularly the heavier linemen."[26]

In association football, a 2011 German study found that German national team players lived 1.9 years less than the general male population.[27]

Football players participating in international matches for Germany have reduced longevity compared to the general population. This disadvantage was the larger, the earlier the international football player started his international career. This finding is in line with the current knowledge of life expectancy in major athletes, especially those from other team sports

A 1983 study of rugby players found that the life expectancy of All Blacks was the same as for the general population.[28]

Australian rules footballers have lower death rates than the general population.[29]


Abby Wambach, a retired player known for scoring header goals
Abby Wambach, a retired player known for scoring header goals
Heading of the ball in association football can increase the risk of chronic brain damage.
Heading of the ball in association football can increase the risk of chronic brain damage.

American football players are prone to head injuries such as concussions. In later life, this increases the risk of dementia[30] and Alzheimer's.[31] Professional American football players self-reporting concussions are at greater risk for having depressive episodes later in life compared with those retired players self-reporting no concussions.[32][33]

Probably due to the repeated trauma associated with heading balls, professional association football has been suggested to increase the incidence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.[34] In a 1987 study of former Norwegian association football national team players, one third of the players were found to have central cerebral atrophy, i.e. brain damage.[35] A 1999 study connected soccer to chronic traumatic head injury (CTHI):[36]

[P]articipation in amateur association football in general and concussion specifically is associated with impaired performance in memory and planning functions. Due to the worldwide popularity of soccer, these observations may have important public health implications


Anterior cruciate ligaments are particularly vulnerable in most types of football due to injuries that can be sustained during tackles.


An increased incidence of osteoarthritis in the hip joint has been found in retired football players.[37]


A 2012 study of association football injuries found that 19% of all injuries were muscle injuries, of which 54% affected the thigh muscles.[38]

Sleep and psychological functioning[edit]

In a 2009 study, association football was found to be associated with favourable sleep patterns and psychological functioning in adolescent male football players.[39]

The rate of suicide among NFL vets has been found to be 59% lower than in the general population.[40]

FIFA response[edit]

In 2012, FIFA released a paper intended to identify key risk factors for association football players.[41]

Longevity and factors of mortality[edit]

In 2015, a systematic review of a sample of fifty-four peer-reviewed publications and three articles on elite athletes’ mortality and longevity, resulted in major longevity outcomes for the elite athletes (baseball, football, soccer, basketball, and cycling) "compared to age and sex-matched controls from the general population and other athletes." The span longevities were influenced by factors like the type of sport, the playing position, the race, and the energy system.[42]

International level[edit]

An observational study held from professional footballers -active (during their career) and recently retired (post-career, aged more than 45 years)- in 70 countries between 2007 and 2013, elaborated on data from the World Footballers' Union (FIFPro), recorded 214 deaths of which 25% was caused by accidents, 11% by suicides and 33% by a suspected cardiac pathology (on an overall 55% of deaths caused by some sort of disease).[43]

Clinical evaluation, ECG , and echocardiography are required for the athletes as pre-participation tools in order to prevent sudden cardiac deaths in people aged less than 35. To evaluate the risk of myocardial fibrosis, may use and recommend the additional use of late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) with pre- and post-contrast and extracellular volume fraction (ECV) images.[44] Even encouraged, it wasn't yet made mandatory.

North America[edit]

In 2015, 205 deaths among North American professional athletes who were registered as active at the time of their decease were analysed. Data were collected for the four major sports: National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL), National Hockey League (NHL), and Major League Baseball (MLB). The NFL and NBA active players had "a higher likelihood of dying in a car accident" and a significantly higher likelihood of dying from a cardiac-related illness compared to the NHL and MLB active populations.[45]

In 2013, a study on 3,439 retired athletes of the National Football Leagues with at least five credited playing seasons between 1959 and 1988 did not show a statistical correlation between suicide mortality and professional activity, particularly football-related compared with the general control sample. No stratification was reported between speed and non-speed position players.[46]


Until the 2000s a very limited number of formal studies has been published on mortality from all causes in soccer players, despite the high interest of the public to the matter. An extended study held in Italy between 1975 and 2003 on a total of 5.389 players, aged 14–35 years, highlighted that, while the mortality for cancer and cardiovascular diseases among the football players cohort was significantly lower than the general Italian population, the "mortality rates for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and car accidents were significantly higher than expected, and for ALS the risk is 18 times than expected."[47]

Lists of players[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rolin, Jack (13 July 2023), "football", Britannica Online Encyclopedia
  2. ^ jarassé, anne-cécile; yulia, k (30 March 2007). "Jean-Pierre Papin: 'Football is a universal language'". cafébabel. Andrew Burgess (translator). Archived from the original on 16 June 2013.
  3. ^ "Premier League Salary - How Much Do Premier League Footballers Make?". 888 Sport Online. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  4. ^ "EPL footballer wages England 2022". Statista. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  5. ^ Birnbaum, Justin. "The World's Highest-Paid Soccer Players 2023". Forbes. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  6. ^ Rueter, Paul Tenorio, Tom Bogert and Jeff. "MLS releases annual list of player salaries". The Athletic. Retrieved 19 November 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ "How much players make on USWNT: Salaries for top NWSL players with World Cup prize money | Sporting News". 22 July 2023. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  8. ^ "How Much Do NWSL Players Really Make? An In-Depth Look At NWSL Salaries". The18. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  9. ^ Sack, Allen L.; Thiel, Robert (January 1979). "College football and social mobility: a case study of Notre Dame football players". Sociology of Education. 52 (1): 60–66. doi:10.2307/2112594. JSTOR 2112594.
  10. ^ Claridge, Steve (8 May 2007). "Scouting report: Colin Doyle, Birmingham City". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 13 December 2008. Scouting report on the Birmingham City goalkeeper evaluates based on these attributes.
  11. ^ Claridge, Steve (22 April 2008). "Scouting report: Mark Beevers, Sheffield Wednesday". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 13 December 2008. Scouting report on the Sheffield Wednesday centre back evaluates based on these attributes.
  12. ^ Claridge, Steve (28 October 2008). "Scouting report: Kyle Naughton, Sheffield United". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 13 December 2008. Scouting report on the Sheffield United full back based on these attributes.
  13. ^ Claridge, Steve (7 October 2008). "Scouting report: Ben Watson, Crystal Palace". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 13 December 2008. Scouting report on the Crystal Palace central midfielder based on these attributes.
  14. ^ Claridge, Steve (30 October 2007). "Michael Kightly, Wolverhampton Wanderers". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 13 December 2008. Scouting report on the Wolverhampton Wanderers winger based on these attributes.
  15. ^ Claridge, Steve (30 October 2007). "Sam Vokes, Wolves". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 13 December 2008. Scouting report on the Wolverhampton Wanderers forward based on these attributes.
  16. ^ Jordet, Geir; Hartman, Esther; Sigmundstad, Einar (November 2009). "Temporal links to performing under pressure in international soccer penalty shootouts". Psychology of Sport and Exercise. 10 (6): 621–627. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2009.03.004. hdl:11250/170599.
  17. ^ "Football players who rush penalty kicks are less likely to score, 10 September 2009". 10 September 2009.
  18. ^ Strudwick, A.; Reilly, T.; Doran, D. (June 2002). "Anthropometric and fitness profiles of elite players in two football codes". The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. 42 (2): 239–242. PMID 12032422.
  19. ^ Korth, Joanne (29 January 2006). "Sports: A huge problem: Strength isn't enough: NFL linemen have to be so big, their health may be at risk". Tampa Bay Times. Times Publishing Company. Archived from the original on 3 February 2008.
  20. ^ Chomiak, Jiri; Junge, Astrid; Peterson, Lars; Dvorak, Jiri (September 2000). "Severe injuries in football players: influencing factors". American Journal of Sports Medicine. 28 (s5): s58–s68. doi:10.1177/28.suppl_5.S-58. PMID 11032109. S2CID 20055504.
  21. ^ "Preventing Football Injuries". Archived from the original on 17 November 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  22. ^ "Patellar Tendonitis – SportsMD". January 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  23. ^ Schwenk, T.L.; Gorenflo, D.W.; Dopp, R.R.; Hipple, E. (April 2007). "Depression and pain in retired professional football players". Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 39 (4): 599–605. doi:10.1249/mss.0b013e31802fa679. PMID 17414796.
  24. ^ Baron, Sherry; Rinsky, Robert (10 January 1994). "Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-88-085, National Football League players mortality study". National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Retrieved 10 July 2022.
  25. ^ Meredith, Wadman. "Former football pros die at a faster rate than baseball veterans". Science. Retrieved 10 July 2022.
  26. ^ Selden, Michael A.; Helzberg, John H.; Waeckerle, Joseph F. (1 September 2009). "Early Cardiovascular Mortality in Professional Football Players: Fact or Fiction?". American Journal of Medicine. 122 (9): 811–814. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2009.03.027. PMID 19699372. Retrieved 10 July 2022.
  27. ^ Kuss, Oliver; Kluttig, Alexander; Greiser, Karin H. (December 2011). "Longevity of soccer players: an investigation of all German internationals from 1908 to 2006". Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. 21 (6): e260–e265. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0838.2010.01269.x. PMID 21435018. S2CID 30783906. Pdf.
  28. ^ Beaglehole, R.; Stewart, A. (1983). "The longevity of international rugby players". The New Zealand Medical Journal. 96 (735): 513–515. PMID 6578423. Archived from the original on 26 March 2019. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  29. ^ Orchard, JW; Orchard, JJ; Semsarian, C; La Gerche, A; Driscoll, T (2022). "Reduced death rates of elite Australian rules footballers compared to age-matched general population". Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 25 (9): 710–714. doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2022.08.003. PMID 35999145. S2CID 251479792.
  30. ^ Guskiewicz, Kevin M.; et al. (October 2005). "Association between recurrent concussion and late-life cognitive impairment in retired professional football players". Neurosurgery. 57 (4): 719–726. doi:10.1227/01.NEU.0000175725.75780.DD. PMID 16239884. S2CID 2473241.
  31. ^ Ritter, Jim (18 July 2011). "Research: Football players may be more vulnerable to Alzheimer's". Loyola University Health System. Archived from the original on 8 December 2011. Retrieved 5 November 2011.
  32. ^ Kerr, Zachary Y.; Marshall, Stephen W.; Harding, Herndon P. Jr.; Guskiewicz, Kevin M. (October 2012). "Nine-year risk of depression diagnosis increases with increasing self-reported concussions in retired professional football players". American Journal of Sports Medicine. 40 (10): 2206–2212. doi:10.1177/0363546512456193. PMID 22922518. S2CID 25752165.
  33. ^ "Dynasty to death: CBC's Fifth Estate examines head injuries in football". 19 November 2008.
  34. ^ Chiò, Adriano; Benzi, Gianmartino; Dossena, Maurizia; Mutani, Roberto; Mora, Gabriele (January 2005). "Severely increased risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis among Italian professional football players". Brain. 128 (3): 472–476. doi:10.1093/brain/awh373. PMID 15634730.
  35. ^ Sortland, O.; Tysvaer, A.T. (March 1989). "Brain damage in former association football players: an evaluation by cerebral computed tomography". Neuroradiology. 31 (1): 44–48. doi:10.1007/BF00342029. PMID 2717003. S2CID 21039119.
  36. ^ Matser, Erik J.T.; Kessels, Alphons G.; Lezak, Muriel D.; Jordan, Barry D.; Troost, Jaap (September 1999). "Neuropsychological impairment in amateur soccer players". JAMA. 282 (10): 971–973. doi:10.1001/jama.282.10.971. PMID 10485683. S2CID 22772205. (free access)
  37. ^ Klünder, Kurt B.; Ruda, Bjarne; Hansen, Jørgen (December 1980). "Osteoarthritis of the hip and knee joint in retired football players". Acta Orthopaedica Scandinavica. 51 (1–6): 925–927. doi:10.3109/17453678008990896. PMID 7211298.
  38. ^ Ekstrand, Jan (2012). "Thigh Muscle Injuries in Professional Football Players: A Seven Year Follow-Up of the UEFA Injury Study". Sports Injuries. pp. 871–875. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-15630-4_111. ISBN 978-3-642-15629-8. {{cite book}}: |journal= ignored (help)
  39. ^ Brand, Serge; Beck, Johannes; Gerber, Markus; Hatzinger, Martin; Holsboer-Trachsler, Edith (November 2009). "'Football is good for your sleep': favorable sleep patterns and psychological functioning of adolescent male intense football players compared to controls". Journal of Health Psychology. 14 (8): 1144–1155. doi:10.1177/1359105309342602. PMID 19858334. S2CID 10312855.
  40. ^ Epstein, David (21 May 2012). "Dead wrong: two studies refute reports in the media about former NFL players' life expectancy". Sports Illustrated. Time Inc.
  41. ^ Fuller, Colin W.; Junge, Astrid; Dvorak, Jiri (January 2012). "Risk management: FIFA's approach for protecting the health of football players". British Journal of Sports Medicine. 46 (1): 11–17. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2011-090634. PMC 3254133. PMID 22143999.
  42. ^ Lemez, Srdjan; Baker, Joseph (1 December 2015). "Do Elite Athletes Live Longer? A Systematic Review of Mortality and Longevity in Elite Athletes". Sports Medicine - Open. Springer Open. 1 (1): 16. doi:10.1186/s40798-015-0024-x. ISSN 2199-1170. OCLC 7659615440. PMC 4534511. PMID 26301178.
  43. ^ V Gouttebarge; W Ooms; T Tummers; H Inklaar (1 November 2015). "Mortality in international professional football (soccer): a descriptive study" (PDF). The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. 55 (11): 1376–82. ISSN 0022-4707. OCLC 8086984568. PMID 25289716. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  44. ^ Sophie I. Mavrogeni; Konstantinos Tsarouhas; Demetrios A. Spandidos; Christina Kanaka-Gantenbein; Flora Bacopoulou (1 February 2019). "Sudden cardiac death in football players: Towards a new pre-participation algorithm". Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine. Spandidos Publications. 17 (2): 1792–0981. doi:10.3892/etm.2018.7041. ISSN 1792-1015. OCLC 7991416583. PMC 6327574. PMID 30679986.
  45. ^ S. Lemez; N. Wattie; J. Baker (1 May 2016). "Early death in active professional athletes: Trends and causes" (PDF). Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. Wiley Online Library. 26 (5): 544–9. doi:10.1111/sms.12480. ISSN 0905-7188. OCLC 6189719938. PMID 25996659. S2CID 41743986. Archived from the original on 12 September 2020 – via Google.
  46. ^ Everett J. Lehman; Misty J. Hein; Christine M. Gersic (1 October 2016). "Suicide Mortality Among Retired National Football League Players Who Played 5 or More Seasons" (PDF). Am J Sports Med. 44 (10): 2486–2491. doi:10.1177/0363546516645093. ISSN 0363-5465. OCLC 8147151940. PMC 5048489. PMID 27159317.
  47. ^ Taioli, Emanuela (December 2007). All causes mortality in male professional soccer player. Vol. 17. Oxford University Press. pp. 600–604. doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckm035. PMID 17434875. {{cite book}}: |journal= ignored (help)