Top 50 most-cited articles in medicine and science in football

João Brito, George P. Nassis, André T. Seabra, Pedro Figueiredo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives To conduct a comprehensive mapping analysis to the scientific literature published in football aiming to identify the areas of bigger interest and potential for further exploration. Methods The data were obtained by a search conducted on the Web of Science. Articles were listed based on citation frequency. We used an open-source bibliometrix R-package for the comprehensive bibliometric analyses. Results The number of citations per article ranged from 251 to 869 (median 323; IQR 125). The yearly number of citations ranged from 8 to 54 (median 26; IQR 11). Most of the articles (76%) were of level III of evidence, 10% were level II and 14% were level IV. Within the top 50 most-cited articles, 40 articles were original research (37 observational and 3 experimental studies), 9 were review articles and 1 was a thesis. From the 40 original research articles, 50% involved elite players, 73% were exclusive to male players and 80% involved adult players only. The topic area with the highest number of articles was sports medicine (44%), followed by training and testing (32%), performance analysis (14%) and physiology (10%). No study within the top 50 was devoted to biomechanics, nutrition, sport psychology, coaching or social sciences. Conclusions The lack of experimental studies within the top 50 most-cited articles in football clearly underpins how far we still are from establishing the theoretical and methodological guidelines for the applied science and medicine in football.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere000388
JournalBMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • bibliometric analyses
  • citations
  • soccer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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