Mario Balotelli and the 20 Best Twitter Accounts in World Football
Twitter is not just a means of sharing football news—quite often its users actually create the headlines.
One such user is Milan striker Mario Balotelli whose every mildly controversial or quirky tweet seems to be newsworthy in the tabloid press. The Italian also uses it for self-publicising pictures of boots, endless selfies and much, much more.
Currently, his profile picture is a piglet and his background image a pose in front of a gold-tiled self-dedicated mosaic fountain at his home. His Twitter account is a digital extension of his hugely entertaining personality.
Super Mario kicks off our list of the best Twitter accounts in football, featuring players, pundits, journalists, essential stats, funnies and more...
There are plenty of statistics peddlers on Twitter, but few have the authority and wry humour of the original Premier League performance specialists Opta.
OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) is their Premiership specialist, usually handing out at least a couple of illuminating stats before and after major games to make you sound much smarter in the pub.
Twitter was an essential part of Joey Barton's (@Joey7Barton) transformation from inexplicably violent mindless ex-convict to hipster voice piece of the western world.
The microblogging site is a perfect vehicle for the QPR midfielder to give us his unfiltered opinion on absolutely everything, often with controversial results.
He's not always right, but he's always worth keeping an eye on.
If you don't know your false nines from your inverted wingers, Zonal Marking (@Zonal_Marking) is a very good, unintimidating place to start.
Started by journalist Michael Cox in 2010, ZM provides exhaustive analysis of several games each week, usually pointing out the tactical nuances that you almost certainly missed.
You've Been Hodged
Twitter isn't short on parody accounts, but one of the most recent is also the finest.
The concept of You've Been Hodged (@YouveBeenHodged) is simple: The face of England manager Roy Hodgson is placed onto the face of other famous managers and players. The results are funny, disturbing and expertly done.
Take a look at our selection of their best efforts.
101 Great Goals
For years, 101 Great Goals (@101GreatGoals) has been a reliable source for fans seeking goal highlights from all major leagues. They have survived numerous threats of closure from various bodies including the Premier League, but they keep on bringing us the goods.
Their Twitter feed points you in the direction of all their latest content, including their excellent blog section, which is often first to find the videos you will later find elsewhere online.
One of the foremost authorities on Spanish football is Bleacher Report's very own Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague).
Through his network of contacts, Balague often scoops transfer rumours before major publications, while bringing his English-speaking followers the major stories from the Iberian Peninsular.
Also deserving of your attention in the field of La Liga news and analysis is The Guardian's Sid Lowe.
Bavarian journalist Rafa Honigstein (@honigstein) is an excellent source of Bundesliga news and exclusive tidbits, but he also provides plenty of commentary on the other major European leagues.
Honigstein is also a regular on BT Sport and The Guardian's brilliant Football Weekly podcast.
Guillem Balague and Rafa Honigstein's Serie A equivalent is James Horncastle (@JamesHorncastle), the man whom the aforementioned Guardian Football Weekly podcast regularly refers to as a "sexy pirate."
Seafaring aesthetics aside, Horncastle is quick to translate the major stories from Italian football while adding his own unique take on events.
With his comprehensive Monday Night Football analysis, Gary Neville (@GNev2) has made all other pundits in the UK look like amateurs.
His forthright TV opinions and criticism are present on his Twitter feed, along with some excellent banter and obligatory spats with social media troll extraordinaire Piers Morgan.
France Football's Philippe Auclair (@PhilippeAuclair) offers plenty of insight into the beautiful game in France, but the majority of his tweets focus on the Premier League and European football as a whole.
Auclair is a very worthy follow, particularly if you enjoy the cultured feeling of the occasional French tweet landing on your timeline.
USA Soccer Guy
Football, or "soccer," or "sawker!" is growing in popularity with each passing day in the United States.
No one lampoons the bizarre vernacular of our friends across the pond better than USA Soccer Guy (@usasoccerguy), an anonymous account that pokes fun at American sports terminology through utterly hilarious match updates.
Regardless of your opinion of the man, Rio Ferdinand (@RioFerdy5) is an essential Twitter follow—over 5 million users can't be wrong!
The Manchester United defender gives plenty of insight into his training regime, he comments during games (when he is not playing), fights with Piers Morgan and is more than willing to interact with his fans and detractors.
If you don't follow Squawka Football (@Squawka) yet, you are in for a treat.
Not only do they provide quotable stats like Opta, but they also tweet transfer rumours, comments, links to their in-depth analysis and amusing pictures like the one above.
Freelance journalist Nooruddean Choudry (@BeardedGenius) is a Manchester United fan whose work can be seen in the likes of The Mirror and Eurosport.
Choudry's oft-hilarious Tweets are by no means Manchester-centric, as he keeps his finger on the pulse to satirise news from all over Europe. His biggest Twitter selling point may be his use of Photoshop—this American Hustle poster is a good recent example.
If you can put up with his inane Tweets about horses, Michael Owen (@themichaelowen) is certainly worth a follow.
Owen can be a little humourless on the banter side, but he often makes bold predictions and is one of Piers Morgan's main targets.
We promise his feed is more entertaining than his BT Sport commentary.
Sky Sports News
With over 2.3 million followers, it's safe to say that Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) is a popular choice for football fans on Twitter.
In addition to breaking all the latest news from their ubiquitous rolling news channel, SSN's key selling point is the fact that they don't just aggregate from other sources: Their team of journalists originate transfer stories and can often bring you updates before most other sources.
Henry Winter (@henrywinter) is one of the leading, if not the leading football journalist in the UK.
The Daily Telegraph correspondent and Sunday Telegraph columnist regularly tweets during games in the line of duty and offers plenty of insight into the major topics of the day.
What Jonathan Wilson (@jonawils) doesn't know about world football could be written on the back of a postage stamp in large letters.
A revered football journalist with a keen interest in the game outside of Europe, Wilson's writing can be found in The Guardian, The Blizzard (of which he is editor) and, of course, Bleacher Report.
He is perhaps best known for his in-depth analysis of tactics, typified by his acclaimed book Inverting the Pyramid.
Follow him to soak up some knowledge and learn more about an aspect of the game you may not have been familiar with.
Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong (@IAMFRIMPONG26) is one of the more entertaining footballers on Twitter.
Even though he uses the word "Dench" more often than Dame Judi Dench herself, the Ghanaian star is always an excellent source of banter who will liberally interact with fans and pour sarcasm on teammates and rivals.
The former Spurs and Barcelona striker gives his view on Premier League games, along with thoughtful conversation starters and opinions.