Evolutionary Trends of Players’ Technical Characteristics in the UEFA Champions League

Qing Yi, Hongyou Liu, George P. Nassis, Miguel Ángel Gómez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The current study aimed to investigate the evolutionary trends of players’ technical performances in the UEFA Champions League. Match statistics of 18 technical performance indicators from 1,125 matches (2,489 players, 16,247 full match observations) from the group and knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League (season 2009/2010 to 2017/2018) were analysed. Separate Poisson regression models were run in the generalised mixed linear modelling to compare the differences in technical performances among seasons, and the autocorrelation function was used to identify the correlations within technical variables. Results demonstrated that players’ match performances in variables of shots and shots on target showed trivial changes over the nine seasons. The defending related variables showed either downward trends or negligible changes, and the passing- and attacking-related variables showed different evolving paths throughout the course of the nine seasons. These findings may indicate that European teams are now more focussed on the control of match play, creating offensive space by increasing passing frequency and accuracy rather than crossing the ball from the wings into the penalty box. The significant autocorrelations were only detected in the attacking- and passing-related variables of crossing, though ball and aerial wins, they displayed persistence patterns among the nine seasons.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1032
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - Jun 16 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • football
  • performance analysis
  • soccer
  • technical evolution
  • UEFA Champions League

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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