Soccer is a global game enjoyed by billions of people in the world. Support bases of clubs have also transcended beyond borders, with top clubs boasting of a huge number of fans across the world.
Some of the super European clubs have huge followership in Africa, even more than in their native countries. This is largely because most Africans prefer to support the top European clubs rather than their local teams, who are grossly underfunded and thus lacked the necessary equipment and infrastructures that are up to standard.
The presence of satellite TV, the Internet, and social media has made it easier for Africans to follow the major European leagues, competitions, and clubs as they offer more excitement, exhilaration, engagement, and fun.
In this article, TOP SOCCER BLOG brings you the top 10 most supported clubs in Africa.
Chelsea became a force to reckon with in soccer when they got purchased by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich in 2004. Their rise coincided with the popularity of satellite TV in Africa. The Blues also recruited African football legends like Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, John Obi Mikel, and Solomon Kalou. These, along with their success on the field, earned millions of fans across Africa.
Their fanbase has continued to grow since then with Chelsea and Manchester United boasting the most fans in Africa. According to a post on BBC, the major fans of Chelsea football club are West Africans.
2. MANCHESTER UNITED
Manchester United, along with Chelsea, are the most supported European football clubs in Africa. The Red Devils have won 20 league titles, 3 UEFA Champions League among numerous other trophies. They played an expansive and entertaining football during the era of Sir Alex Ferguson and boasted of global stars like David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rooney, etc., in their squads.
All these have won them millions of die-hard fans across Africa.
Barcelona’s calibre of players alongside their brand of football makes them one of the most supported clubs in the world at large and in Africa categorically.
The likes of Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto’o, Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, and others made Africans fall in love with the Blaugranas. African stars like Eto’o, Seidou Keita, Yaya Toure played for Barca.
Also, Pep Guardiola’s great Barcelona side from 2008 to 2012 (one of the best in football history) won the heart of millions with their tiki-taka playing style.
Despite Barca’s recent struggles and the departure of Lionel Messi, the Spanish giants still have millions of fans in Africa.
Arsenal’s Invincibles team of the early 2000s and their brand of football won the club huge followers in Africa. Also, the club signed great African players like Nwankwo Kanu, Lauren, Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Adebayor, Alexander Song, and Aubameyang.
Arsenal’s decline after the era of the Invincibles and their tendency to always frustrate didn’t affect their huge fan base in Africa. Thus, Arsenal fans are considered as the most loyal and enduring.
Liverpool’s success in recent years might make some think that their supporters in Africa started following them overnight but opposite is the case. In fact, Liverpool are among the clubs with the oldest fans in Africa. It’s just that the Reds’ decline and lack of success around a decade or so ago made their fans become more silent and reserved. Their success in recent seasons has made their fans more vocal and loud.
The presence of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Naby Keita have also significantly increased Liverpool’s fanbase across Africa.
6. REAL MADRID
Real Madrid are the most successful club in the Champions League history and arguably, the most successful in football history. Their success has earned them millions of fans worldwide.
The Galacticos era of the 2000s spearhead by current President Florentino Perez and the club’s prestige won them supporters in Africa, especially North Africa.
Stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Ronaldo de Lima, Zinedine Zidane attracted millions of Africans to Real Madrid.
7. AC MILAN
Milan’s success in the 90s and 2000s and the presence of Kaka et al won them a lot of fans in Africa. The Rossoneri’s decline and the rise of other clubs saw them lose millions of African fans, but their recent rise and the presence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and African stars like Frank Kessie and Bennacer is winning them fans in Africa.
8. MANCHESTER CITY
Since the Abu Dhabi Royal family took over Man City, the club’s fortunes have turned around. They have become the dominant team in England and one of the best European clubs in the world.
Their success and star-studded squads, coupled with the arrival of Pep Guardiola and his beautiful brand of football is winning the club a lot of African fans. They have a plethora of supporters in Africa.
Although City cannot boast of the huge number of fans like its rivals, their fanbase is growing gradually.
Juventus’ dominance of Serie A, their rise to the top of the European game, and their squad that has the likes of Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo brought them to the attention of African fans, but it was their signing of Cristiano Ronaldo that won them fans across Africa. The Portuguese forward is a brand on his own and has fans who follow him everywhere he goes. But with the recent departure of Ronaldo, it will be difficult for Juve to hold on to their African fans.
PSG’S Qatari owners have never been shy of splashing the cash and signing the best players in the world. The club boasts of the most expensive player in football history, Neymar, in their squad. The presence of other stars like Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Sergio Ramos, Angel di Maria, etc., have made Africans start following the club. The Paris-basee club are gradually becoming one of the football clubs with the most fans in Africa. And the club’s fanbase in Africa will likely increase in the future.
Messi alone — like Ronaldo — has millions of fans who follow him.
Do you think the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus will affect the club’s fans?
And as a Lionel Messi fan, do you still support Barcelona?
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