Player valuation update: young talent dominate the ranking of most valuable football players


Following the conclusion of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, club football resumed almost immediately, and the winter transfer window opened shortly thereafter. It is fair to say that football is in a very busy period, which makes it a perfect time to examine the latest market value estimates by Football Benchmark (with squads and data points having been updated as of 19 January).
It says a lot about a trend in modern football that all 10 of the world's most valuable players are under the age of 25. One of the two “oldest” players on the list is Paris Saint-Germain FC superstar Kylian Mbappé (24), who has retained his place as the world's most valuable player with a market value of EUR 210 million. Mbappé is currently the top scorer in both the Ligue 1 and the UEFA Champions League and was awarded the Golden Boot at the World Cup after scoring eight goals, including a hat-trick in the final against Argentina. He remains the only player whose market value exceeds EUR 200 million.

Norwegian phenom Erling Haaland once again took second place in the top 10 with a value of EUR 178 million. Although the Manchester City player missed the World Cup, he is on course for a record-breaking season, having already scored 22 goals at the halfway point of the English Premier League (EPL) season, an achievement which has bearing on his estimated market value.
While the names in the top five have not changed since last July, Phil Foden (5th) and Jude Bellingham (3rd) have swapped their spots, with the Borussia Dortmund midfielder Bellingham making it to the podium this time. Vinícius Júnior remained in fourth place. Bellingham is currently the most valuable under-21 (‘U21’) player, so it is not surprising that he has ample chances of seeing a move to one of the powerhouses of European football, most likely in a Premier League or La Liga club. Looking at the changes in the top 10 since July, Jamal Musiala, Gavi, Federico Valverde and Bukayo Saka are all new joiners, replacing Harry Kane, Bruno Fernandes, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mason Mount.
La Liga is the league with the most players on the top 10 list (4), followed by the English Premier League (3), German Bundesliga (2) and Ligue 1 (1). The first Serie A player in our ranking is AC Milan left winger Rafael Leão, in the 21st position. The last, October 2022 list included seven players worth more than EUR 100 million; that number has risen to nine this time around.

It is worth highlighting that five of the top 10 most valuable U21 players in the world play in the German Bundesliga, including Jude Bellingham of Borussia Dortmund and Jamal Musiala of FC Bayern München in the top two spots.

The team with the most players on the list is FC Barcelona with the Spanish international trio of Pedri, Gavi and Ansu Fati. While the German Bundesliga and La Liga are represented by five and four players respectively, it is notable that the English Premier League do not have a single player on this list.

As a result of their winter transfer window activity, Chelsea FC have climbed to third place by aggregate squad market value (EUR 1,067 million). The main driver behind the value growth of over EUR 200 million since October is the acquisition of several new players. The dominance of the English topflight is evident as all the so-called “Big Six” are among the most valuable squads in the world. Last October, the only club with an above EUR 1 billion squad value was Manchester City, while the current list has six teams having surpassed this major threshold.

In addition to the EPL teams, FC Bayern München is the only team from the German Bundesliga to make the list, along with La Liga giants FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF, and French champion Paris Saint-Germain FC. Out of the “Big Five” leagues, the only one missing is Serie A.

The FIFA World Cup was a prime opportunity for players to showcase their development, and our list of the 10 largest value increases since October reflects the impact of the tournament. It is important to note that the club performances of these players have also been impressive during these past months. The value of world champions Enzo Fernández and Julián Álvarez increased by EUR 43 million and EUR 42 million, respectively, while World Cup finalist Randal Kolo Muani’s value grew by EUR 25 million. FC Barcelona’s Spanish midfielder, Gavi, is the player with the highest absolute market value growth (EUR 51 million) on this list.

The only footballer in this ranking who did not participate in the World Cup is Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, whose excellent form at SSC Napoli earned him sixth place on the list. Marcus Rashford’s recent club performance is also notable, earning him the seventh place on this ranking.

Our updated player value estimates once again confirm the dominance of the English Premier League– out of the “Big Five” European leagues, the EPL have the most valuable XI by position. In the selected “Dream Team”, Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC are represented by four and three players, respectively. The combined market value of this XI approaches EUR 1 billion.


Note: Football Benchmark’s Player Valuation platform monitors market values for over 8,000 players from 18 leagues (England Premier League and EFL Championship, Spanish La Liga, German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A, French Ligue 1, Portuguese Primeira Liga, Turkish Süper Lig, Dutch Eredivisie, Belgian First Division A, Brazilian Serie A, Argentinian Superliga, Austria Bundesliga, Russian Premier Liga and Saudi Arabian Pro League, Scottish Premiership, Danish Superliga, Swiss Super League) and from several top teams in other leagues.
Find out more here.