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The Top 10 Most Supported Football Clubs In The World

The Top 10 Most Supported Football Clubs In The World

Football would be nothing without fans. When the Covid-19 lockdown struck and stadiums suddenly became empty, the need for packed-out grounds and passionate supporters became clearer than ever, and when English fans of the so-called Big Six hit the streets to protest against the proposed plans for a European Super League in 2021, the power of these supporters was reinforced emphatically.

Moments like this were all about fans being brought together, whether they were lifelong matchgoing fanatics and home and away season ticket holders, or younger audiences more used to TV broadcasts, who had developed a slightly different relationship with their club. Technological developments and the ever-changing nature of modern football means that these days, there are a number of ways to support a team; in recent years, this has become abundantly clear in the level of support certain teams receive from soccer lovers in every corner of the world.

In this article, we'll be diving into this phenomenon, exploring why it is that certain clubs gather massive fanbases both at home and abroad, and listing the top 10 most supported football clubs in the world. 

What Soccer Team Has The Most Fans?

Many clubs would like to stake a claim that they have the biggest fanbase in the world, but the fact is that it's difficult to know for sure how many supporters each club has; after all, no one is keeping definitive records of this. In football media, you'll regularly hear players, ex-pros, pundits and managers talking about their favourite club as "the biggest in the world", and this is something that can be worth taking with a pinch of salt.

That being said, there are a few clubs that we know have the power to get people all over the globe screaming and shouting with pride and passion every matchday, whether they're at the ground week-in, week-out, or whether they have to wake up in the early hours of the morning simply to catch a game on TV. And amongst those teams, there are some heavy hitters. In the next section of this article, we'll explore the top 10 most supported football clubs in the world.

The Top 10 Most Supported Football Clubs In The World

The growth of social media gives us a new way of analysing how many fans each major club has, although there are other things to take into consideration here, including ticket sales, TV broadcasting figures, shirt sales, and the prevalence of international supporters groups.

The below shows each clubs number of followers across the 4 largest social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, X and TikTok:

10. Arsenal

Facebook: 42 million

Instagram: 28.5 million

X: 22.2 million

TikTok: 6.5 million

TOTAL: 99.2 million

Historically, the Gunners are the most successful club in London, and one of the most successful in the whole of English football. They have an army of passionate fans at home in the capital; however, there are also tons of Arsenal fans all over the world, both the casual and the seriously committed. On Facebook alone, the North London club have over 40 million followers, a whopping figure that shows how popular they are.

9. Bayern Munich 

Facebook: 60 million

Instagram: 41.2 million

X: 6.9 million

TikTok: 18.4 million

TOTAL: 126.5 million

The arrival of prolific former Spurs striker Harry Kane in Germany has caused many English fans to sit up and take notice of Bayern Munich; however, it's not like the Bundesliga giants were in need of any extra attention. They're already one of the most widely supported clubs in the world, with millions of followers in a variety of different countries regularly tuning in over the years to watch iconic players like Phillipp Lahm, Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, Robert Lewandowski, and Joshua Kimmich.

8. Liverpool

Facebook: 46 million

Instagram: 44.1 million

X: 24.2 million

TikTok: 17.3 million

TOTAL: 131.6 million

The Premier League is the most popular sporting league in the world, reportedly watched in a whopping 643 million homes across the globe, in 212 different territories. And as the competition has grown and expanded since its original inception in 1992, a small handful of clubs have gained a particular level of prominence across the world. Liverpool are arguably the most famous of the lot, and though it took them until 2020 to win their first Premier League trophy (pre-'92, they did collect 19 top flight titles), iconic Champions League games and dizzying displays by players like John Barnes, Kenny Dalglish, Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and Mo Salah have made them a hugely attractive side to watch, whether you're from Liverpool or not.

7. Chelsea

Facebook: 54 million

Instagram: 42 million

X: 25.4 million

TikTok: 15.3 million

TOTAL: 136.7 million

Fellow London side Chelsea (situated in the western side of the city) also have a massive following outside of the UK capital, with their 28,000 season ticket holders supplemented by a global fanbase of much more. The Blues have over 120 million social media followers in total, and amongst those are a number of fans known to travel long distances in order to support their team.

6. Manchester City

Facebook: 49 million

Instagram: 50.4 million

X: 17.3 million

TikTok: 23 million

TOTAL: 139.7 million

Even a decade ago, Manchester City would never have made this list, but their meteoric rise since the takeover of Emirati billionaire Sheikh Mansour means that the club's support network now extends far beyond the boundaries of east Manchester, where their state-of-the-art training ground the Etihad Campus is located. Man City have fans in every corner of the globe, thanks largely to the dazzling success of record-breaking head coach Pep Guardiola.

5. Juventus

Facebook: 47 million

Instagram: 60.2 million

X: 10 million

TikTok: 30.2 million

TOTAL: 147.4 million

Italy's most successful club in recent years has been the home of legendary players such as Andrea Pirlo, Gianluigi Buffon and Alessandro Del Piero, and when a cast of talents like that graces your club, it's almost inevitable that you'll get attention from outside Serie A. The Turin side are known all over the globe thanks to their impressive European performances, their classy footballing identity and their stylish black and white brand, and they have a strong social media following of 114 million to prove it.

4. Paris Saint Germain

Facebook: 52 million

Instagram: 65.3 million

X: 4.7 million

TikTok: 41 million

TOTAL: 163 million

Before Qatar Sports Investments took over the club in 2011, Paris Saint Germain had nowhere near the level of global popularity that they do today — in the last decade, things have changed immensely. Now, the exploits of stars such as Kylian Mbappe and Neymar mean that PSG are supported by a huge number of soccer lovers across the world. The Parisian titans are particularly popular amongst younger fans of the game.

3. Manchester United

Facebook: 82 million

Instagram: 63.2 million

X: 37.5 million

TikTok: 24.3 million

TOTAL: 207 million

One club that would disagree with the claim that Liverpool are England's most famed club on the global stage is Manchester United. Propelled forward by the extraordinary success of legendary boss Sir Alex Ferguson, the Red Devils have won a record 20 English league titles, including 13 under the Scotsman. Their dominance over English football has led to keen support from hoards of international fans everywhere from Ghana and Nigeria to Japan and South Korea. As a result, United have over 180 million followers on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

2. Barcelona

Facebook: 113 million

Instagram: 125 million

X: 48.5 million

TikTok: 32.3 million

TOTAL: 318.8 million

Barcelona have an even bigger reach online than Liverpool and Manchester United, with the Catalonians boasting 122 million Instagram followers and more than 47 million on Twitter (now known as X). However, it's not all about online figures; Barcelona's popularity goes far beyond social media, with estimates suggesting that the club has a staggering total of 350 million global supporters. Part of this fanbase is the passionate set of supporters who flock into Barca's grand, 99,000-capacity stadium Camp Nou (Europe's largest stadium) every other week. With stars like Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Luis Suarez, Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto'o all gracing the field in recent years, it's no surprise that Barcelona have managed to gather one of the biggest fanbases in the world.

1. Real Madrid

Facebook: 121 million

Instagram: 151 million

X: 49.8 million

TikTok: 38.7 million

TOTAL: 360.5 million

It's generally thought that the most widely-supported club in the entire world is Real Madrid. The Spanish giants have been extraordinarily successful throughout their long history, so it's no surprise that they've garnered appreciation all over the globe, with some people estimating that there are around 400 million fans of Real Madrid worldwide.

As players such as Jude Bellingham, Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelion Tchouameni help excite and entice the newest generation of supporters, it's worth spending some time exploring how it is that Real Madrid have been able to generate the biggest fanbase in the world.

Los Blancos: The Commercial Success Of The Biggest Fan Base In The World

The global popularity of Real Madrid is down to a number of factors. Firstly, they have been extremely successful on the continent, winning a total of 14 European Cups and lighting up the Champions League in recent years with players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema, thereby gaining a huge amount of traction in UCL-watching countries all over the globe.

Add to this the global hype that surrounded the Galacticos era, when Madrid styled themselves as the team of the very best, the most rich and glamorous names in football — from Luis Figo to David Beckham, Roberto Carlos and Ronaldo — and you've got a formula for success. And wrapped up in all of this is an approach to branding and commercial identity that has played a huge role in shaping people's perceptions of Real Madrid.

Los Blancos are a unique club, viewed across the world as representing success, fame, style, glamour, trophies and riches in a way that no other team is. The club has marketed itself as standing out from the crowd, and their large global fanbase is a direct result of this campaign. If you'd like to find out more about how this kind of commercial messaging can  be effective within football, check out our guide to the role of sports marketing and five of the best examples in soccer.

 

Table: The 10 Most Supported Soccer Clubs In The World

  TEAM SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWERS (February 2024)
1 Real Madrid 360.5 million
2 FC Barcelona 318.8 million
3 Manchester United 207 million
4 PSG 163 million
5 Juventus 147.4 million
6 Manchester City 139.7 million
7 Chelsea 136.7 million
8 Liverpool 131.6 million
9 Bayern Munich 126.5 million
10 Arsenal 99.2 million