It’s been a good week for Juventus.
The Italian giants made headlines around the world as they prised Cristiano Ronaldo away from Real Madrid, for a princely sum of €100m.
And, as our research shows, Juve have the honour of being the club that has provided that most World Cup winning players through history.
Looking at the domestic team that each member of every World Cup winning squad since 1930, we’ve found that Juventus sit top of the pile – far ahead of the likes of Barcelona or Real Madrid.
Italy won the 1934 tournament with seven Juventus players in their ranks – and followed that up four years later with another two.
Juventus had to wait another 44 years before picking up another trophy – with a further six players representing the Old Lady, including top scorer Paolo Rossi and captain Dino Zoff.
While Italy didn’t win the World Cup again until 2006 (where they had five Juventus players in their squad), two Juve players, in Didier Deschamps and Zinedine Zidane, played for France in 1998.
With Deschamps leading France into the 2018 final on Sunday, Juve fans may be able to claim another success this weekend.
However, looking at the France and Croatia squads that have made it through to the final this year, it may actually be Croatia who have the advantage – thanks to their two Juventus players.
Croatians Mario Mandzukic and Marko Pjaca both play for the Italian club, compared to just Blaise Matuidi for France.
With Juventus proving the ultimate World Cup lucky charm, maybe that could be the difference between the two teams?
Juventus top the league table on 24 – narrowly ahead of Bayern Munich, where 23 players plied their trade at the time they won the World Cup, including seven German players in 2014.
They sit just ahead of another Italian club in Inter Milan – who have Croatians Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic in their ranks. France have no players from Inter.
Given the current state of world football, it’s amazing to see Real Madrid and Barcelona so low down the list, well behind Uruguayan pair Penarol Montevideo and Nacional Montevideo.
The two South American clubs have provided 14, and 13 World Cup winners respectively – well ahead of the 10 and nine players from Real and Barca.
While much of this can be attributed to Uruguay’s two world titles early on in World Cup history, it is still surprising to see the two Spanish powerhouses well down the list.
They all comfortably outperform English clubs, however – with the highest club from these shores being Arsenal, who have had seven World Cup winners.
The Gunners had one victorious England plater in 1966, George Eastham – though they were home for two French winners in 1998, one Spaniard in 2010, and three Germans in 2014.
There are no Arsenal players in the final this time around, though, with the furthest Gunners player being Danny Welbeck, who reached the semi-finals with England.
In second spot are Liverpool on five, which would become six if Croatia’s Dejan Lovren lifts the trophy on Sunday.
Next up are West Ham on four, with three of those coming from England’s triumph in 1966, and a further one coming from France’s Bernard Lama in 1998. They can be overtaken by Chelsea this year, however, if the Blues’ N’Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud win the World Cup with France.
It’s interesting to note that current English champions Manchester City have never had a player win the World Cup while at the club.
While there were three City players in England’s defeated squad, Benjamin Mendy could become the first ever player to bring a winning medal back to the Etihad should France seal victory in Moscow.
Non-English players to win the World Cup while at English clubs
|Bernard Lama||West Ham||France||1998|
Given Juventus and Inter sit in the top three for clubs, it’s probably not a surprise to see Italian clubs massively outrank the rest of the world when it comes to providing World Cup winning players.
111 players have won the World Cup while representing Italian clubs – narrowly ahead of Brazil on 100, and Germany in 78.
Uruguay, thanks to their World Cup wins in 1930 and 1950, weigh in at fourth, with England and Argentina level on 33 apiece – just one player ahead of Spain, who are on 32.
Thanks to their 1998 win, France come in at eight with 14, the lowest of any team to win the World Cup. Should they claim the trophy on Sunday, that number will increase by eight, to 22.
Two countries appear on the map for providing World Cup winners without ever winning the trophy themselves.
Mexico’s Club America (Argentina’s Hector Zelada in 1986) and Japan’s Shimizu S-Pulse (Brazil’s Ronaldo in 1994) have been the home of victorious players – and given Mexico and Japan are unlikely to win the trophy any time soon, it may be a while until they are added to.
Italy didn’t qualify for the tournament at all this time around – and while it will be France or Croatia taking the glory on Sunday, Italians can still enjoy a small crumb of comfort in knowing their clubs have helped provide the most World Cup winners through history.
CREDIT: YURI CORTEZ / SCANPIX