The most popular clubs in Europe, Africa, and Asia based on search data
There is little doubt that European football is a global phenomenon. The top leagues across the continent are watched in vast numbers by viewers in all four corners of the globe.
LaLiga's recent streaming deal with Facebook across the Indian subcontinent and proposal to play a competitive match in the United States is a testament to the huge global attraction of European leagues.
Due to its popularity, many people who live thousands of miles away from their chosen European team closely follow everything to do with the club, often staying awake at all hours to see the games live. They also search for news involving their supported club on a regular basis.
English sportswear outfitter, JD Sports, has recently published a fascinating study which looks into the most popular clubs in the world based on search data. The data gives us an insight into which clubs are most popular in certain regions and whether particular club signings can influence the level of support in a country or area of the globe.
The global results show that Real Madrid is by far the most popular team in the world, topping the charts in 97 countries. Perhaps surprisingly, Arsenal came in second, winning 17 countries, and Manchester United in third, winning 16 countries.
However, the most fascinating part of this study is the breakdown of a club's popularity by region. Below, we look at Europe, Africa, and Asia to see which clubs came out on top across these three continents.
It is not surprising to see a broad range of clubs feature as the most searched for across Europe. Different to the other continents around the world, Europe clearly displays loyalty to clubs based in their own country.
For example, Italy, Spain, France, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Greece, Portugal, and Poland all search for home clubs rather than foreign teams. What does noticeably stand out, however, is the attraction of Real Madrid across Eastern Europe and Russia with the exception of Ukraine which searches for Ajax the most.
Barcelona proves most popular in a couple of Baltic countries, central Europe, and Turkey. In Scandinavia, Manchester United and Liverpool are extremely popular in Sweden and Norway respectively.
A theory for this popularity could do with playing personnel. Manchester United only became the most popular club in Sweden in 2016 following the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Since the giant Swede's departure to MLS, monthly searches for the Red Devils have dipped and perhaps we will see a new team top the Swedish charts in the near future.
It is also worth looking at the United Kingdom in more detail. Arsenal is the most searched for team in the UK with an average search volume of 869,000 per month. Coming in second and third are Liverpool and Manchester United respectively with Chelsea in fourth place.
Where it gets interesting is the fifth and sixth positions. Barcelona and Real Madrid are the only non-UK teams to feature in the top ten most searched for sides across the British Isles. Spurs, Leicester, Leeds, and West Ham round off the top ten.
Click next to see the most searched for clubs in Africa.