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Under Pressure: Players who suffered the most fouls in the 2023/24 season across Europe’s top 5 leagues

Two Premier League stars draw the most fouls, Bundesliga players absent from the list

Physicality is a key attribute of every modern footballer. Being able to run faster and for prolonged periods, as long as the ability to control the ball under pressure and evade tackles does not hurt a player’s career, but contrary only helps it. This week Sportingpedia’s focus falls on the players who have provoked the most rule infringements or simply said – the ones who were most fouled across Europe’s top 5 leagues. The data shows that throughout the current 2023/24 season, Bruno Guimaraes is the most fouled footballer in Europe’s top 5 leagues, drawing 94 fouls, while another Premier League footballer in the face of Jordan Ayew comes in 2nd position with 93 fouls.


We took out the 10 most fouled players in the Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A, the Bundesliga, and Ligue 1 from Then, by using Transfermarkt’s database we collected the playing minutes of every footballer in order to calculate how frequent each of them is getting fouled.

Key Takeaways:

  • Lazio’s Mattia Zaccagni has been fouled every 25 minutes on the pitch
  • Bruno Guimaraes is the most fouled player during the 2023/24 season in Europe’s top 5 leagues, drawing 94 rule infringements
  • Isco now at Betis, and his heir at Real Madrid – Jude Bellingham are the 2 LaLiga players drawing fouls most frequently
  • Not a single representative from the German Bundesliga among the 10 most fouled players

Bruno Guimaraes of Newcastle stands out as the most fouled footballer, suffering 94 fouls across 33 matches. This suggests that the Brazilian midfielder is a key player for Newcastle, frequently involved in crucial playmaking situations where fouls are more likely. His rate of drawing fouls averages to about one every 30.95 minutes, indicating high engagement in play where physical contact is quite often.

Jordan Ayew from Crystal Palace follows closely, having been fouled 93 times. However, his rate of fouls per minute is slightly better than Bruno’s, with a foul every 27.35 minutes. This not only highlights the pivotal role Ayew has in Crystal Palace’s attack but also shows his ability to draw fouls at crucial moments and areas, potentially creating advantageous situations for the Eagles.

Valencia’s forward Hugo Duro ranks 3rd, earning 88 free kicks thus far in the season for his side, while Isco (Betis) and Jude Bellingham are also featured among the top 10, occupying 6th and 10th positions. Besides playing in LaLiga, the other thing in common that these three share is that each of them plays currently or has played at some stage in his career for Real Madrid.

Two Ligue 1 representatives in Tiago Santos (Lille) and Teji Savanier (Montpellier) rank just outside the top 3. They have earned 78 and 77 fouls for their teams and are joined by Strasbourg’s Dilane Bakwa in the top 10.

The Italian Serie A has two players on the list – Napoli’s winger Kvicha Kvaratskhelia and Bologna’s Lewis Ferguson. The pair has drawn 74 and 72 fouls respectively, significantly less than the Premier League duo of Guimaraes and Ayew, but enough to rank them 7th and 8th across Europe’s top 5 domestic leagues.

Viewing the statistics from another perspective – frequency of fouls per time on the pitch — Lazio’s Mattia Zaccagni leads the pack. He draws a foul every 25.03 minutes, making him the most frequently fouled player in our analysis. This comes to reflect his dynamic presence on the field. 68 fouls across 24 matches were not enough to rank him among the most fouled players, but the Italian playmaker is the footballer who suffers from illegal challenges most often.

Another similar case is that of Tottenham’s James Maddison, who has been fouled every 28.63 minutes. Like Zaccagni, the Spurs’ playmaker has played just 23 league games and his total of 64 fouls is not sufficient to place him as one of the most illegally stopped footballers, but puts him 4th among those who most frequently suffer from bad challenges.

Eintracht Frankfurt’s Omar Marmoush ranks 7th in that aspect, between Jude Bellingham and Bruno Guimaraes. Being fouled every 30.48 minutes, Marmoush is the sole representative of the Bundesliga in our ranking, which comes to show that in Germany’s top flight the players are less targeted and stopped by committing fouls.

The frequent fouling of these players not only disrupts the flow of the game but also puts them at risk of injuries. However, it also underscores their importance to their teams’ strategies, often bearing the brunt of physical play due to their key roles in game tactics.