10 of the Best Footballers on Twitter
The way in which so many footballers have embraced the social media revolution that is Twitter has been rather refreshing.
Rather than having to swallow the usual dispassionate, post-match quotes from a generation of players who have been media trained since their teens, now we get to hear exactly what they think straight from the horse's mouth.
Some clubs have already banned their players from tweeting altogether, while others have taken a more pragmatic approach by issuing guidelines about what can and cannot be said on their players' personal feeds.
Here are 10 of the best players to follow on Twitter.
Few players have used the power of social networking to engineer a change in their public perception, as Barton has.
The former Manchester City and Newcastle midfielder has spent time banned from football and behind bars for various acts of violence in the past, but a view Morrissey lyrics and re-tweeted Nietzsche quotes have seen him re-branded as the thinking man's player.
His rants against Newcastle's ownership also led to him leaving the club in the summer for a lucrative deal at QPR.
The London-born striker is more famous for his exploits on Twitter than anything he has ever achieved on the pitch.
The former Chelsea had a nomadic career that took him to eight different clubs before eventually ending up at Rushden & Diamonds. When the club sacked him for misconduct but held on to his registration, Knight took to Twitter to unleash a tirade of abuse against the club.
Now at Coleraine in Northern Ireland, Knight now mainly uses his feed to rail against his 'haters' and post pics of bags of cash.
There are plenty of bona-fide superstar footballers on Twitter, but few have embraced the service as fully as the Manchester United defender.
Rio engages with his 'twitfam' with regularity on a whole range of subjects with regularity and enthusiasm, and in doing so has shown a more thoughtful and intelligent side of himself than many previously thought existed.
Sure, there are plenty of threads about X Factor and Coronation Street, but recent events such as the London riots and Sepp Blatter's ill-conceived comments about racism in football more than make up for that.
The Manchester United and England striker tweets in a dual capacity as both a superstar footballer and as one half of a celebrity couple.
There is most of the usual fare such as tweets about their young son's antics and 'banter' with teammates, but Rooney has also used Twitter in a canny way.
After the folically-challenged forward had a hair transplant, he posted a pic breaking the news before any of the paparazzi could get a shot and the next day tabloid editors could only print that same image and be relatively kind-worded in their assessment. A triumph of media self-management.
Even before breaking into the Arsenal first team little more than a year ago, the Gunners' goalkeeper had a cult following on Twitter.
The Poland international has a cheeky humour and a sense of irony, and manages to put that across in short written form.
However, he got in trouble last month when a glamour model he sent his number to decided to make his message public after she discovered he already had a girlfriend.
Wilshere is another Arsenal youngster who has embraced Twitter and used it for more than the dull platitudes and such that many others do.
Of course there are tweets of the "Just left training!" type, but he also gives his opinions on the game, a rare commodity in today's game.
For example, when Luka Modric was potentially moving from Tottenham to Chelsea last summer, Wilshere was full of admiration for him and backed the Croatian's desire to move from one local rival to an even stronger one.
Wilshere's teammate has certainly made his mark both on and off the pitch this season.
The midfielder established himself as a cult figure when his energetic and wild display on his full league debut against Liverpool saw him sent off, but it's his online exploits that have made him stand out.
Frimpong's friendship with rapper Lethal Bizzle has led to them coining the phrase "Dench!" (exclamation mark mandatory) and he also likes to let people know when they've been 'Frimponged'.
He even had a little spat with Wilshere back in August. Wilshere responded to news of Samir Nasri's departure by wishing him all the best at Manchester City to which Frimpong replied: "Pffft, come on Jack!"
Young Stuey is widely recognised as one of the nicest guys plying his trade in the Premier League, and that is reflected on his Twitter feed.
Despite the USA midfielder being afflicted with another horrific injury in his young career, he maintains an upbeat vibe in each and every one of his posts.
Whether he is gently teasing one of his fellow players or engaging with his followers, Holden is always an uplifting presence on your timeline.
The Dutch forward became an avid tweeter while still at Liverpool. Even though half his posts were in Dutch, he was still well worth a follow.
He got into trouble after Liverpool lost a match to rivals Manchester United for posting a photoshopped picture of referee Howard Webb wearing a Red Devils shirt, and became the first player to be disciplined by FA for something they posted on Twitter.
Now at Bundesliga club Hoffenheim Babel tweets a lot in German, but he still posts enough amusing and relevant stuff in English to keep him on your list.
The Aston Villa striker was one of the first big-name footballers in Britain to take to Twitter, and also one of the first to cause a stir using it.
When seeking a move away from Tottenham he took out his frustration on chairman Daniel Levy like so: "Do I wanna go Hull City NO. Do I wanna go Stoke NO do I wanna go Sunderland YES so stop f***ing around levy."
He got his move to Wearside, though not before Spurs hit him with a £120,000 fine, and since then he has refrained from the rants but remains one of the coolest guys on Twitter.