With the evolution of social media, it’s easier than ever to connect with one’s sporting idols, and Twitter is perhaps the most common platform the modern footballer uses to voice his opinions.
Amongst football circles, there are those held in higher regard than others for their Twitter activity, whether it be due to their interaction value, comedy factor or otherwise.
Players may have a hard time fitting social media into their busy schedules, but a select few still manage to entertain the masses via their Twitter feed.
The following 10 players have all made themselves a must-follow personality, and thanks to their online exploits can be considered powerful figures in the sport’s prestigious Twitterati.
Twitter Handle: @Gvanderwiel
An avid fan of Instagram, Gregory van der Wiel would appear to be a believer in the adage that a picture’s worth a thousand words, updating his followers with images rather than text.
The PSG defender was infamously ruled out of international duty with an apparent concussion, only to go to a Lil’ Wayne concert, letting his thousands of fans know via Twitter (per People.com).
The whole debacle landed the Dutch right-back in quite a bit of hot water with both his nation’s football federation as well as Holland’s general public, but it was terribly amusing to view from afar.
Van der Wiel is dedicated to letting us know what he’s getting up to during his day-to-day business, doing so in English, Dutch and now French as well.
Twitter Handle: @RobbieSavage8
While not strictly a footballer anymore, Robbie Savage’s constant maintenance of his Twitter feed ensures that the Welshman remains as much in the public eye as ever.
For Savage, tweeting comes almost as naturally as breathing, and the former Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City and Derby County playmaker has been known to update his account as much as 30 times in one day.
In the wake of their financial plummet earlier this year, Rangers found themselves in need of as much help as possible, a cause Savage was keen to take up, tweeting that he would play for the club for free if they wanted.
The Match of the Day pundit was always a controversial player in his career and pulls no more punches in his retirement years, keeping up appearances with those tweeting, whether they're one of his peers or just the average Joe.
Twitter Handle: @themichaelowen
Since seeing his career decline in recent years, a massive dip in playing time has signaled a rise in Twitter activity for injury-plagued Michael Owen.
The Stoke City striker is a loyal servant to his Tweeting lifestyle and updates his followers on a very regular basis, whether it’s in regards to football, politics or his other love, horse racing.
Owen tweets on nearly a daily basis, and in a world where professional sportspeople are sometimes put up on the highest of pedestals, gives the sense of your everyday “bloke” at times.
As the Metro explains, one of Owen’s most recent Twitter escapades came in September, when he gave a live commentary over social media as a burglar attempted to break into his home—which he was inside at the time.
Complete with security camera images, the veteran kept spectators up to date on the failed attempt of thievery, entertaining anyone lucky enough to be following at the time.
Twitter Handle: @cesc4official
With almost 4.5 million followers keeping their beady eyes on his every move, it’s fair to say that Cesc Fabregas’ personal life is somewhat of an open book to the masses.
The Barcelona maestro comes across as a genuinely nice person in his demeanour and supports that genial profile over Twitter, tweeting all of his updates in three languages: English, Spanish and Catalan.
Fabregas’ huge talent on the field of play is mirrored in his standing amongst other footballers on Twitter, and his massive following is undoubtedly attributed to his loyalty when it comes to pleasing his millions of fans.
Proud to celebrate 75 matches with the National Team. Hopefully I can make 75 more. Big hug.— Cesc Fàbregas Soler (@cesc4official) November 15, 2012
Twitter Handle: @GNev2
Another to have recently left his career as a professional footballer for a life in punditry, Gary Neville has chosen to liven up his days with an enthusiastic Twitter presence.
The former Manchester United star’s playing style was aggressive, stern and not always a laugh; his Twitter account, however, points to an altogether more whimsical character.
One of the most amicable aspects of Neville’s Twitter persona is the likeability factor he receives as a result of his willingness to interact with those tweeting him.
Neville updates his profile on a daily basis and goes to great lengths in responding to his followers, his taking part in a public Q & A session being one of the most recent examples of such geniality.
Whether it’s updating those watching on what bread he’s currently eating or general football speak, the older of the two Neville brothers is making good use of his time in retirement and entertaining people in the hundreds of thousands.
The perfect front room for a football fan!! twitter.com/GNev2/status/2…— G.Neville (@GNev2) November 11, 2012
Twitter Handle: @Cristiano
In line with his status as one of the world's greatest footballers, Cristiano Ronaldo has a massively popular Twitter feed, currently being enjoyed by more than 14 million followers.
It’s easy to believe that one with an agenda as tight as the Portuguese captain’s wouldn’t have the time to maintain his own Twitter feed, but Ronaldo still manages to do so with some certainty.
Whether it’s the player himself or his PR team, daily tweeting is always nice to see from a footballer so valued in the public forum, with offers and competitions for signed memorabilia just one of the benefits of following him.
Although his arrogance on the pitch sometimes gives the impression that he may not be the nicest player around, Ronaldo’s tweeting points to an altogether more likeable figure.
A prime example of this generosity can be viewed below.
Twitter Handle: @Frimpong26AFC
Having only made a handful of first-team appearances for Arsenal in his early professional career, it’s remarkable that Emmanuel Frimpong has developed such a strong Twitter following, albeit a fully deserved one.
There are frequent questions raised as to which celebrities maintain their own social media accounts and whose are taken care of by staff.
For Frimpong, the question isn’t even relevant, as it’s pretty evident that the 20-year-old enjoys that side of his life too much to give anyone other than himself control over it.
Plenty of players give the impression that they’re holding back by the fashion in which they tweet, but Arsenal’s starlet is genuine in his tweeting life, holding back little while tapping away at his keyboard.
Over the summer, Frimpong found himself in a bit of trouble for referring to a Tottenham fan that wished ill of him as a “Scum Yid”, and was swiftly fined £6,000 by the FA (via Guardian).
Despite that momentary lapse in judgement, his account is normally an enjoyable one to follow. It might be in reference to his grime music connections in London, or where he’s heading out on loan next, but Emmanuel Frimpong is nothing if not an honest tweeter.
Subject to rumours am not leaving afc I am positive of going on loan this week which am really excited about and I am fully commited to afc— Emmanuel Y Frimpong (@Frimpong26AFC) November 12, 2012
Twitter Handle: @RyanBabel
While it’s undoubtedly beneficial to learn any new language, perhaps one of the biggest advantages to learning Dutch would be so that one can then understand Ryan Babel’s Twitter feed without need for a translator.
The Holland international seems to take the approach that life is too short to be serious, trying to make those following see the funnier side of things, and more often than not succeeding.
With almost one million followers, it’s clear that a lot of people are interested in what Babel has to say, and all in good reason.
The ex-Liverpool winger has had some forgettable times as a player, and Babel’s career as a tweeter has also had its times that he’d probably prefer to forget.
During his Liverpool days in 2011, the Guardian reported that the Ajax attacker would be charged for tweeting a picture of referee Howard Webb mocked up in a Manchester United shirt.
Controversial or not, rap-loving Babel shows little restraint when in front of his keyboard, and the masses love him for it.
Be happy 2day! DO NOT let frustrated ppl affect or INFECT u with their bad mood... #RR— Ryan Babel (@RyanBabel) November 1, 2012
Twitter Handle: @Joey7Barton
Possibly the most controversial footballer on Twitter, Joey Barton may be on loan at Marseille at the moment, but continues to entertain a global audience via Twitter.
Barton doesn’t leave his loyal followers out of the loop for a second and tweets on close to an hourly basis, pausing semi-regularly for sleep.
As the Mirror explains, Barton has had his fair share of controversy in his career as a footballer, more than a few the results of tweeting that isn’t always politically correct.
Speaking of politics, you can also expect to see Barton commenting on world affairs from across the globe, giving the people exactly what they want.
Unfortunately for Barton, the content he puts out may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but then not many footballers who draw in almost two million followers will be.
It was a rhetorical question. Was just checkin the dumbometer. Good news is, its still working perfectly. Good day x— Joseph Barton (@Joey7Barton) November 15, 2012
Twitter Handle: @Rioferdy5
Entrepreneur. Footballing icon. Serial tweeter, and a darn entertaining one at that.
Rio Ferdinand would appear to have everything in his repertoire needed to please the millions both on and off the pitch.
The Manchester United centre-back manages to combine a heap of quality and quantity when it comes to tweeting, and there’s something altogether too enlightening about knowing what the defender has had for dinner not to follow him.
On a more serious note, there’s little that Ferdinand won’t comment on, and while footballers might be looked on by some as one of sport’s less intelligent creatures, the Red Devil holds a good account for his kind.
Like any entertaining Twitter account, however, Ferdinand doesn’t come without his share of darker moments, and he was recently punished for sharing his thoughts on John Terry’s racism row, calling witness Ashley Cole, a “choc ice” (via Guardian).
It might be about his family life, the US presidential election or even UK politics, but there isn’t much Ferdinand shares over Twitter that isn’t worth a watch.
1 of the lad has just come out with a classic! "I need 30 club shirts...10 red + 10 white please" this is what I have to deal with!!!— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) November 15, 2012