Croatia is the biggest exporter of footballer players in the world based on population and the number of registered players, according to statistics from CIES Football Observatory.
CIES based their findings on studying 137 leagues in 93 national federations. All players, which totaled 12,051, were part of the first-team sides in those leagues as of 1 May 2017.
Players who were also on the bench were included in calculations where data was available. Out of 137 leagues, this data was available in 116.
The report revealed that Brazil has the most number of players playing abroad – 1,202. In second place behind Brazil with the most players exported was France (781), followed by Argentina (753), Serbia (460), England (451), Spain (362), Germany (335) and in eighth place Croatia with 323 players.
Croatia is the smallest nation in the top eight, but when the exports are based on population and number of registered players, Croatia is in top spot.
CIES stats show that 92% of Croatian players are playing in countries which are UEFA members, compared to 65% of Brazilian and 37% Argentinian. Four Croatian players are at the two UEFA Champions League final clubs, highlighting the influence in Europe Croatian players have made.
African nations such as Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana and Ivory Coast have a lot fewer players playing abroad than they traditionally had, Slobodna Dalmacija says.
The most number of Brazilians abroad are playing in Portugal (221), whilst the most Frenchmen are playing in England (107). The most Argentinians are playing in Chile (106), whilst the most English players abroad are in Wales (143).