Which domestic league is sending the most players to the World Cup?

On Monday, FIFA officially unveiled the rosters for the 32 teams headed to the World Cup. With each nation selecting 23 players, a total of 736 players will be on the ground in Russia when the competition kicks off June 14, and a deep dive into the squads provides a fascinating real-time snapshot of the global pecking order within the planet’s most popular sport. Here’s a quick look inside the numbers:

Premier League reigns supreme once again

The English Premier League will send the most players to the World Cup for a sixth consecutive tournament, with a total of 107 Prem players (all figures as of the end of last season) involved in Russia.

Spain’s La Liga is second, with 81 players en route to Russia. It’s the first time that La Liga has cracked the top three since 1998, when the World Cup expanded from 24 to 32 teams. After La Liga comes the German Bundesliga’s 60 representatives, just slightly ahead of the 58 from Italy’s Serie A. Ligue 1 in France (48) and the host nation’s Russian Premier League (36) round out the top six.

Manchester City sending basically everyone

As far as individual clubs go, Manchester City leads the fray with 16 World Cup-bound players. Real Madrid has 14 and its arch rival Barcelona 13, with Paris Saint-Germain and London clubs Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur tied at 12 apiece. Bayern Munich, Juventus (Italy) and Manchester United each have 11.

Spain’s David Silva, left, and Belgium’s Kevin de Bruyne are just two of the internationals heading to Russia from Manchester City’s stacked squad. (Getty)
Spain’s David Silva, left, and Belgium’s Kevin de Bruyne are just two of the internationals heading to Russia from Manchester City’s stacked squad. (Getty)

England has the lone squad comprised entirely of players employed within its borders.  (The Three Lions also have the youngest captain in 24-year-old Harry Kane.) Senegal and Sweden are the only teams without any domestic-based members at all, although four players from the Swedish Allsvenskan play for other countries.

No player was born after 2000. The youngest participant is 19-year-old Australian Daniel Arzani, who beat out France’s Kylian Mbappe by two weeks. The oldest is 45-year-old Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary. Mexico’s Rafa Marquez, making his fifth World Cup trip, is the oldest outfield player at age 39.  

How many going from Mexico?

Marquez is one of 22 players from Mexico’s Liga MX. Major League Soccer, which features 20 teams in the United States and three in Canada, is sending 19 players. Both North American leagues have fewer World Cup-bound players than they did four years ago. In 2014, 26 Liga MX reps and 21 from MLS went to Brazil.

All 19 MLS players going to Russia play for national teams other than the U.S. and Canada, both of which failed to qualify. Only the top leagues in England, Spain, Germany, France and Italy are sending more players who don’t play for the national squads of those countries.

England’s second-tier Championship contributes 24 players, the most of any lower division.  

The French, Mexican and Spanish second divisions sent one player each, as did the English and Spanish third tiers and the top leagues in Honduras, Guinea, Finland, Iceland, Nigeria, Norway, Romania, Slovakia and South Africa.

Doug McIntyre covers soccer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.

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