World's Most Valuable Starting XI

World's Most Valuable Starting XI

The latest version of the CIES (read:  Centre International d’Etude du Sport, or International Centre for Sports Studies) Football Observatory report has just been released and the world’s most valuable starting XI has been named.

CIES Football Observatory estimates the values of these players by looking at a myriad of factors such as age, contract length, playing position, number of minutes played, numbers of goals scored, their international status, their team’s results, and many more.

This year, the combined XI cost a whopping £1.5 billion. Unsurprisingly, following the English clubs’ dominance in Europe, the world’s most expensive XI consists of seven Premier League players and four of them play for this year’s European champions, Liverpool. Surprisingly, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar does not make the list.

Here’s all you need to know about the most expensive XI in the world right now.

Goalkeeper: Alisson Becker – Liverpool

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Seeing how he took home the Premier League’s Golden Glove Award and a UEFA Champions League title, there’s no reason why Alisson should not be Brazil’s, or even the world’s No. 1. He has been valued at £96 million, far eclipsing the £65 million Liverpool paid for him at the start of the season.

His gargantuan fee is justified as he played a pivotal role in shutting out Tottenham in the Champion’s League final and kept 21 clean sheets in the Premier League this season.

His outstanding performances has been recognised by the club and is now officially handed the No. 1 jersey for next season. Becker’s £96 million price tag shows that right now, he’s at the top of the world and at 26-years-old, it seems he is approaching the peak of his abilities and could be one of the best custodian in the world for the next few years.

Defender: Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool

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At 20, he participated in his first Champion’s League final. At 21, he won it. Who knows what he will be doing when he’s 22?

Liverpool’s precocious right back has established himself as a regular starter for Jurgen Klopp’s side this season and recorded 12 assists in the Premier League, which is more than any other defender.

Considering his young age, he has so much more to offer and many more years to develop into one of the finest players the game has ever seen. However, CIES thinks that he is already the world’s most valuable defender right now by giving him a valuation of £116 million.

Here’s what Liverpool’s former defender, Glen Johnson, said about Alexander-Arnold.

“He’s got bundles of potential to improve. He’s only 20-years-old so he’s far from the finished article and what he can become from the position he’s in now is exciting.” With time on his side, his valuation can only get higher from here.

Defender: Virgil Van Djik – Liverpool

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The Dutchman was named the PFA Player of the Year and dominated the league with his great defending abilities. In fact, his defending was so sublime that no one has managed to dribble past him in the last 64 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool.

Recently, he was also named Captain of the Netherlands team and led them to a second-place finish at the UEFA Nations League. Not to mention that he’s also a Champion’s League winner.

Overall, these factors have determined his valuation to be at £100 million, a £25 million increase from the fee paid by Liverpool to Southampton when signing him in 2018.

After less than 18 months at the club, people are already claiming that he will be a Liverpool legend. His amazing performances for club and country make his £75 million fee seem like a bargain.

Defender: Aymeric Laporte – Man City

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Pep Guardiola signed the 25-year-old Frenchman for £57 million in 2018. If he were to sell Laporte now, he could make a huge profit as the defender has been valued at £94 million. This is most likely because he has won the Premier League for the second year in a row.

Oddly enough, he has never once appeared for the French national squad due to his eccentricity. However, he still has time to break into that team as he is still young and has plenty of potential to improve.

The Frenchman still has three years left on his contract at City and if anyone were to make a move for him, they would have to unload their purse to unbind him from City. The talented defender has proven his worth to Guardiola as he was the most featured defender in Pep’s constantly rotated starting XI with 34 starts.

It was his influence and calmness at the back that guided Man City to their second title in as many years. If it’s anyone who deserves to be in the most valuable starting XI next to Van Djik and Alexander-Arnold, it’s certainly Laporte.

Midfielder: Raheem Sterling – Man City

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Sterling’s 17 goals and 10 assists in the Premier League for City was instrumental to them winning the title and his contributions did not go unrecognised as he picked up the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

He has also been a revelation for the Three Lions as he has featured regularly in Gareth Southgate’s new-look England side. Being only 24 years of age, he is tied down to City until 2023. His value is bound to be in the hundred million range – £185 million to be exact.

The pacey winger has the potential to improve and with Guardiola forging an unstoppable side in the Premier League, Sterling could be part of a dominant dynasty. As part of the English contingent, he joins a golden generation of players who leave their mark on the game as one of the most influential English players ever.

Midfielder: Bernardo Silva – Man City

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When he first arrived at City, no one imagined that he would be named as one of the most dynamic and most expensive midfielders in the world. This year, he has been valuated at £122 million because of his stellar performances for both club and country.

Silva doesn’t really catch the eye of most who watch a Man City team filled with stars such as Sergio Aguero or Raheem Sterling, but he is no less important than them as he helped City accumulate 98 points to beat Liverpool to the title.

He has scored 11 goals and assisted eight in all competitions for City and played an integral role in helping Portugal win the UEFA Nations League.

Furthermore, he has already claimed five trophies this season and is more decorated than any other player in the world’s most valuable starting XI. The road from being a £43 million signing to a £122 million champion has been a satisfying one for the 24-year-old Portuguese star and just like Sterling, his journey still has a lot more in store for him.

Midfielder: Philippe Coutinho – Barcelona

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He has been considered by fans at the Nou Camp as a £105 million flop since moving in 2018. However, he has shocked many by appearing in the world’s most valuable XI with a value of £115 million, not too much more than his original transfer fee to Barca.

Even more surprising is the fact that his valuation has risen from the last CIES Football Observatory report (from £109 million previously).

However, it’s hard to see any positives from this as it is rumored that his add-on fees could make the original fee rise up to nearly £145 million. Thus, it is possible that the 27-year-old Brazilian has only been included in this list because of his monstrous transfer deal and the fact that he still has four more years left running on his contract. He was also a part of the team that won the La Liga this season.

He ranks in the top five scorers for Barcelona in the La Liga and Champion’s League with five and three goals respectively. However, for a £115 million player, he ought to be producing more than this.

Midfielder: Jadon Sancho – Borussia Dortmund

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These days, the younger stars seem to be taking the footballing world by storm and commanding hefty transfer fees at the early stages of their careers and Jadon Sancho is at the forefront of this evolution.

The Englishman, valued at £142 million just like Alexander-Arnold, is only at the start of his career. The potential he holds makes up the bulk of his valuation and the rest can be attributed to his amazing form.

He recorded 12 goals and 14 assists for Dortmund in the Bundesliga this season and has been their best player all season long. Since moving from Man City, he has experienced a meteoric rise by flourishing at the senior level – something which he never experienced at City.

Dortmund’s sporting director, Michael Zorc, only had good things to say about him.

“I’m not surprised about his performances. I’m surprised how fast he managed to get on this senior level because, before, he only played in youth teams,” he said.

“He’s still a youth player in our terms. That’s unbelievable. He’s very robust, very strong. For his age, he is outstanding.”

Forward: Lionel Messi – Barcelona

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He is the greatest of all time and his current £149 million valuation just goes to show that at his age, (oldest among this group) he can still hold himself against the young ‘uns. The statistics don’t lie and his numbers have been outstanding as usual – 51 goals and 16 assists – both of which are the highest in the Barca squad this season.

At 31, he is considered to be past his peak and already on the decline. However, he has shown no sign of slowing down and looks like he may be able to play at the top level for many years to come.

While his value is steadily declining due to his increasing age, his valuation in relation to others is still much higher and this undoubtedly proves that his quality has remained constant.

Messi is the sole reason for Barcelona dominating the La Liga this season and he has brought glory to the Nou Camp once again by winning them the title with his individual talents.

Forward: Mohammed Salah – Liverpool

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The final Liverpool player in the world’s most valuable XI is none other than the Egyptian Prince – Mohammed Salah.

Completely removing the stigma of being a flop at Chelsea, he rebuilt his career at Roma before returning to the Premier League with Liverpool and displayed his qualities by scoring 32 goals in his first season.

In this second season, most thought that he wouldn’t be able to replicate his form from the previous campaign, but he proved them wrong by scoring 27 goals with 10 assists in all competitions and winning the Champions League with Liverpool.

Salah is valued at £195 million by CIES Football Observatory, one of the highest of this lot. And at just 26, he is expected to play at this level for the years to come.

Forward: Kylian Mbappe – PSG

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You cannot complete the world’s most expensive XI without the world’s most expensive teenager, or indeed of any age. Mbappe, the 20-year-old World Cup winner, has been valued at a staggering £224 million.

33 goals in 29 appearances on its own is not an easy feat to achieve and this lad has gone out and done it at 20. He, in the absence of Neymar, has been leading PSG’s front line and been their main source of goals.

His youth gives him an edge over all the other players on this list and his ability, coupled with his accomplishments for club and country, makes him the world’s most valuable player.

Footballing legend and three-time World Cup winner Pele said of Mbappe: “He must continue to play the same way that he is already doing. That is how he will become the world’s best.”

For Mbappe, the only way is up.

And with that, the list of the world’s most valuable concludes.

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