Celtic pass the ball better than Barcelona, Man City, Real Madrid

| 25th Sep 2017

Celtic pass the ball better than Barcelona, Man City, Real Madrid

Celtic have been ranked as the top passing side in European football ahead of Paris Saint Germain, Barcelona and Manchester City.

The Scottish club led in total possession, mean number of passes per match and average possession duration. This is according to data by CIES Football Observatory. The ranking focuses on the percentage of ball possession since the start of the season for teams from 35 national competitions.

The highest figure overall was recorded for Celtic Glasgow: 70.8%.

The Scottish team completed 659 passes per match compared to an average of 196 for their opponents. Celtic made 7.1 passes per possession phase, while their opponents only achieved three. The average duration of a possession was 23.5 seconds for Celtic and only 11.1 seconds for their opponents.

Big-5 league clubs are over-represented in the top positions of the rankings. This reflects the greater technical ability of their players, as well as the stronger importance given to possession in the playing philosophy of a higher proportion of teams.

Celtic, managed by former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has been impressive in recent years. The club beat rival Rangers in a Scottish premier league match at Ibrox Park, Glasgow on Saturday. The club faces Belgian side Anderlecht on a Wednesday Champions League Group stage tie.

English champion Chelsea did not make top 100 while Manchester United ranked 77th behind English Division 2 club Reading which ranked 38th behind Tottenham Hotspur at 19th, the only English club in the top 20.

European champions Real Madrid ranked 23rd, while Italian champions Juventus ranked 33rd.