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Who are the prominent players in the UEFA Champions League? An approach based on network analysis

Clemente, F.M.C. ; Martins, F.

Walailak Journal of Science and Technology Vol. 14, Nº Sport and Health Sciences issue , pp. 1 - 8, October, 2017.

ISSN (print): 1686-3933
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This study aimed to analyse the centrality levels of elite football players. The tactical positions and tactical line-ups were considered factors to be used in analysing the variance in the prominence of players, measured by social network measures. The best sixteen teams from the UEFA Champions league were analysed during the entire competition. A total of 109 matches were analysed for this study. Significant statistical differences between positions were found in %indegree (p = 0.001; ES = 0.268, moderate effect), %outdegree (p = 0.001; ES = 0.301, moderate effect) and %betweenness (p = 0.001; ES = 0.114, minimum effect). No statistical differences between tactical line-ups in %outdegree (p = 1.000; ES = 0.001, no effect) and %indegree (p = 1.000; ES = 0.001, no effect) were found. The central midfielders had the greatest values of centrality, thus confirming their importance in the linkage process of the team. Positions had a great influence on the centrality levels of players.