Football Index is a useful barometer of player popularity.
As with stock markets, the fee any given purchase will set you back is determined by supply and demand.
The best player in the world right now is, according to Fifa (and conventional wisdom), Lionel Messi. But that doesn’t necessarily make him the costliest on Football Index. That title belongs to Neymar (£7.41).
In a sense, it’s fitting that the most expensive footballer of all time also commands the greatest share price on the world’s first football stock market. But Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward isn’t the only player with a higher value than the man many expect to receive 2019’s Ballon d’Or.
Jadon Sancho, Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba and Raheem Sterling can all say the same, despite enjoying various levels of game-time and form this season so far.
The common denominator? Age.
“The reason is mainly age,” Football Index’s Stewart Coggin explained.
“If Messi were Sterling’s age, he’d be by far the most expensive player, but traders are wary of players who are over 30 and will retire in a few years as no one wants to be left holding shares in a guy who will ultimately be worth nothing when he retires.
“[Messi] still wins pretty much the most dividends but that age factor means he has gone down in price this year.”
Craig Rennie, of Football Index Elite, has an even more extreme example highlighting how influential this can be.
“I’m often asked why certain players are worth more than seemingly superior players on the Football Index,” he told Squawka. “And the main answer is ‘The Index doesn’t always make sense. At first.’
“For example, Cristiano Ronaldo (£3.21) has one of the most glittering careers in world football. However, Mason Greenwood (£4.16) has played a handful of first-team games for Manchester United and is without a Premier League goal to his name as yet.”
So why are Greenwood shares in higher demand than those in a five-time Ballon d’Or winner? “Mason Greenwood ticks a lot of boxes when you look at buying a player on the Index. The main reason is his age. Ronaldo is in the twilight of his career at 34 years old, whereas Greenwood is 18 and has the whole of his career ahead of him.
“Greenwood is also English, a striker, and he plays for Man United. All of these things are strong points for the young forward and the reason why people have made long-term investments in him.
“I know who I’d rather have in my team, but as Football Index goes, Greenwood is a more lucrative long-term hold.
“This can be said of a lot of players on the Index, where there are many different ways of trading. But generally, when I select a player, I’m making a three-year bet, (three years is the maximum amount of time you are allowed to hold a player on the index).”
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According to Craig, the main factors Football Index newcomers should consider when buying shares in players are…
“I generally look for players between 16-26 as they have the most room for growth.”
“It’s best to pick players from the top five leagues (England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France) as these are the only leagues that qualify for performance-related dividends.”
“I, as a rule, only buy forwards and midfielders as I feel they get noticed more. There are a few exceptions to this (Joshua Kimmich, Trent Alexander-Arnold) but, generally, I stay clear of defenders. Currently, goalkeepers have little value, too.”
“Is the player likely to attract a lot of media? Are they going to be linked with bigger clubs? These can add good value to your players and also make them available for media dividends.”
“Ideally, you want your player to be scoring and assisting on a regular basis and scoring well generally on Opta. This again gives you a good chance of collecting some performance-related dividend wins.”
“Obviously there is a lot of research that goes into selecting the right player for your portfolio. My advice is based on my strategy, but there are many other successful strategies and processes for picking players. The most important thing, in my opinion, is to always do your own research, never be persuaded by others posting players up on social media, etc. By all means, have a look, but make your own decisions and stick to a strategy.”
You have to be 18+ to gamble. For more information, go to BeGambleAware.org. Player prices accurate at the time of writing (17:09, 18/10/2019).