Ranking Europe's Top Clubs by Likes on Facebook

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2014

Ranking Europe's Top Clubs by Likes on Facebook

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    The influence that social media has on sport has soared with meteoric trajectory in recent years, with Facebook one of the sites boasting a most prestigious spot within the football fraternity.

    Unsurprisingly, as is the case in terms of real fan figures, there are those European giants embraced more by their Facebook admirers than other clubs.

    Though not a fair representation of how "big" a club may be or the respect they deserve on the continental platform, we've ranked Europe's top 10 teams based on the amount of "likes" garnered via their official Facebook pages.

    Click on each club's name in the text to visit their official Facebook page.

10. Galatasaray: 9.9 Million

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    Just short of the 10 million mark in their "like" counter, Galatasaray fly a strong flag for Turkey in this countdown, beating a whole host of parties that one might expect to have been included ahead of them.

    The Super Lig titleholders are looking to make the Champions League quarter-finals for the second year in succession and are currently enjoying a fruitful period of European prominence, having fallen off the radar somewhat for a time.

9. Juventus: 10.6 Million

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    They may be Italy's reigning league champions, but Juventus' Serie A graft isn't enough to see them come out as the most-liked Italian giant.

    Antonio Conte's men boast just over 10.5 million fans on the social network, and their rise to global popularity will have undoubtedly been helped on by the vast success that the club have enjoyed in recent campaigns.

    The Bianconeri could have done with such a boost to their reputation, too, considering Facebook's 2004 launch wasn't too far off from coinciding with the 2006 betting scandal (Calciopoli) which will have assuredly put Juve down in the estimations of some.

8. Bayern Munich: 12.9 Million

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    Apparently, being the champions of just about every tournament one could possibly compete in over the course of a calendar year isn't enough to make a club the champions of social networking.

    Despite claiming a European and a domestic treble, winning the FIFA Club World Cup and generally developing one of the most indomitable squads ever seen, Bayern Munich still have less than 13 million Facebook admirers.

    Not that such a "deficiency" is likely to upset a side that has quite so much going in their favour, but at least we now know that there are parts of this world that Der FCB have yet to conquer. 

7. Liverpool: 16.1 Million

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    Granted, the club is going through one of their less star-studded periods in football, but Liverpool's ongoing popularity with the technological masses is evidence that history does indeed play some role in the amount of "likes" a club rakes in.

    The Anfield outfit are currently jostling to make their way back into the Champions League frame after a period out of the spotlight, and it's respectable that the club should boast more fans than the likes of Bayern and Juve, despite their recent paling in comparison.

    If anything, the support aimed in Liverpool's direction shows that consistent, glittering success isn't everything to some supporters out there—over 16 million of them to be exact.

6. Milan: 20.2 Million

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    Milan are similar to Liverpool in that the last few years have not been good to the club or their trophy cabinet, but that hasn't stopped the dynasty from boasting a thriving fanbase.

    With more than 20 million Facebook fans, the Rossoneri are almost twice as popular as reigning Serie A champions Juventus, not to mention more than six times more "liked" than their bitter, inner-city rivals Inter.

5. Arsenal: 21.2 Million

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    Not too far in front of Milan sit Arsenal, a club whose profile will have assuredly been helped by the return to Premier League prominence that Arsene Wenger's outfit have gone through this season.

    For years now, the Gunners have found themselves on the receiving end of endless jokes, supporters of all origins making fun of the North Londoners due to their lack of silverware over the past decade.

    However, it's the trademark of a good fan to stick with their allegiances through thick and thin, and more than 21 million members of the Gooners fraternity at least see it as fit to give Arsenal their loyalties via social media.

4. Chelsea: 24.2 Million

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    With Jose Mourinho at their helm and a host of the world's finest players at their disposal, it's no wonder Chelsea find themselves rubbing shoulders with the Facebook hierarchy.

    At present, the West Londoners find themselves in the mix to reclaim the Premier League title, jostling with the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal for the division's top honour.

    And Chelsea would be named the Premier League's most popular team on Facebook, too, were it not for a certain other global brand...

3. Manchester United: 42.3 Million

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    Disappointing season or not, Manchester United are yet to lose their massive supporter community, with the club's official Facebook page having so far raked in an astonishing 42.3 million "likes" and rising.

    David Moyes' first season in charge at Old Trafford has been a glum one. Even the team's chances of sealing a top-four place have come into doubt, with Sir Alex Ferguson's departure from the management seat evidently having a big impact.

    While the Facebook fanbase is still substantial, it might be intriguing to see how many of those fans would stick around were they paying for a season ticket and not just a swift internet connection.

2. Real Madrid: 52.8 Million

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    Last summer, Forbes' Kurt Badenhausen disclosed that Real Madrid had become the most valuable sports team in the world, boasting a reported worth of $3.3 billion.

    A large percentage of that value will of course come from club revenue, of which their supporters play a crucial role, whether near or far.

    Considering the population of Spain is just over 47 million, it's safe to say that a great deal of the club's Facebook admiration comes from overseas, and they're reinvesting that love by bringing in the big-money likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.

1. Barcelona: 56.1 Million

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    A team that it's difficult not to admire in terms of style and sheer football quality, Barcelona are the most popular team in the world—or at least they are according to the amount of "likes" garnered on Facebook.

    The Catalan giants have more than 56 million fans on the social networking site, just over three million more than their El Clasico rivals Real Madrid and more than double the numbers Chelsea, Arsenal and Milan each have.

    A team consisting of Lionel Messi and world champions such as Andres Iniesta and Xavi regularly produces some of the most attractive football you're likely to witness, and the Camp Nou masses are fortunate enough to see that pedigree on a weekly basis.

    That being said, the mass appeal of the La Liga champions is a language of worldwide appeal, and it's something that comes across in the sheer mass of "likes" in their locker.