A study of Swiss-based Professional Football Players Observatory shows stars are playing on in top-flight leagues for longer and that the average height and speed of players has increased.
It shows that the game has evolved into mixed martial arts – players are turning into marathon running warriors – super aggressive athletes. This doesn’t mean that small players don’t stand a chance. It means they will become better.
“You learn to be sharper, cleverer,” explained Andres Iniesta, a small creative gem in Barcelona’s midfield. “Small players learn to be intuitive, to anticipate, to protect the ball. A guy who weighs 90 kilos doesn’t move like one who weighs 60″.
The clubs will look for these inventors, a battle for their brains will intensify. Their creativity that can mean the difference between scoring 60 goals a season or 80 goals a season. More than ever these small geniuses are critical for their team’s success.
This evolution of small players won’t slow football down. On the contrary, football will continue to become faster. Big, strong and athletic players will still be coveted by clubs. However, their job will basically be to protect the small, creative players.
Meanwhile, the small players’ price will be decided by his critical abilities. Playmakers’ value will hang on the number of seconds it takes them to control the ball, the number of milliseconds it takes them to find the free player and the number of moments it takes them to release the ball accurately. That very small difference will determine if a the small player is worth €40m or if he’s a luxury player – too small and weak to play modern football.
It’s a tough world out there for the little ones.