World's Most Popular Football Clubs on Facebook

Oliver VeseyContributor INovember 21, 2013

World's Most Popular Football Clubs on Facebook

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    It has historically been difficult to establish exactly which football club had the most supporters worldwide, however, with the recent phenomenon of social media, we probably have a better idea than ever before.

    The most prominent social network is Facebook, with over 1.25 billion users, which gives us a decent sample of the world's population, and thus we can get a good insight into the world's most popular clubs.

    These are the 30 football clubs with the most "Likes" (or fans) on their official Facebook page, other pages and groups not officially affiliated with the club are not included.

    The statistics have been rounded to the nearest 5,000 as the numbers are consistently increasing.

30. Atletico Madrid

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    Atletico de Madrid, founded in 1903, are Spain's third most popular club. The have lifted the La Liga title on nine occasions, although their most recent league success came in 1996.

    In 1974, Los Rojiblancos were runners-up in the European Cup to Bayern Munchen, after taking the Germans to a replay in the final. 

    Despite having a much smaller budget Atletico have been going toe-to-toe with their two much more illustrious rivals in the past seasons, under the stewardship of manager Diego Simeone.

    The current Copa del Rey champions look stronger then ever, and have proved that they are genuine title contenders this year.

    Number of 'Likes': 1.83 million

29. Al-Ahly

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    Al-Ahly, based in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, are Africa's most successful and well supported team.

    In terms of international titles they are only second to Boca Juniors of Argentina and AC Milan of Italy, with a total of 17.

    In 2005 they achieved a "perfect season", going unbeaten in all competitions en route to lifting the Egyptian Premier League, Egyptian Cup, Egyptian Super Cup and CAF Champions League.

    Al-Ahly have won a record 36 national titles, and have a intense rivalry with Zamalek.

    Last year they lifted their eighth CAF Champions League trophy, and qualified for their second successive FIFA Club World Cup in December.

    Number of "Likes": 1.955 million

28. Santos

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    Santos were made famous around the world by Pele and the "O Santasticos" during the 1960s, winning a total of 24 titles during that era including five consecutive Brasileiraos and two Copa Libertadores.

    It was one of the great club sides of all time, led by arguably the greatest player in the history of the sport.

    As well as being one of the most successful clubs in the country, Santos has become a symbol of "Joga Bonito" and are one of the only five clubs to have never been relegated from the Brasileirao.

    More recently Neymar has put them back into mainstream focus by helping them to Copa Libertadores victory in 2011.

    Number of "Likes": 2.135 million

27. Palmeiras

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    Palmeiras are based in Sao Paulo, and are one of Brazil's most decorated clubs having won a record of 11 national competitions.

    Founded in 1914 by Italian immigrants as Palestra Italia, the club was forced to change their name to Palmeiras for political reasons in 1942. A large proportion of their supporters are Brazilians of Italian ancestry.

    Named as champions of the 20th century in Brazil, the crowning moment in their club history was winning the Copa Libertadores in 1999.

    Recently they have been promoted back to Brazil's top flight after being relegated the previous season.

    Number of "Likes": 2.140 million

26. A.S. Roma

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    A.S. Roma were founded through a merging of three Roman clubs, initiated by the fascist regime in 1927, in order to compete with the more successful Italian clubs of the north.

    They have been moderately successful in term of major honours, having only won Serie A three times.

    The most painful memory for the fans of the Giallorossi is the European Cup final defeat to Liverpool on penalties in 1984, made all the worse considering it was in their home stadium, the Stadio Olimpico.

    This season Roma are competing for the title in Serie A, having earlier set a record for best start of all time, notching up 10 consecutive victories from the first game.

    Number of "Likes": 2.63 million

25. River Plate

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    River Plate were founded in 1901 in Buenos Aires and are traditionally a wealthy club supported by the upper-middle class in Argentina.

    They are the most decorated club in the country, having won the Primera Division title a record 35 times.

    In 1986, River had their greatest year as they went on to win the Primera Division, Copa Libertadores and Intercontinental Cup.

    In 2011, the club was relegated for the first time in their history after suffering from financial problems, however, they have recovered well and were runners-up in the 2013 Primera Division.

    Perhaps they are most famous for their intense rivalry with Boca Juniors, with whom they contest the "Superclasico".

    Number of "Likes": 2.675 million

24. Olympique Marseille

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    Olympique Marseille, founded in 1899, are one of France's most storied clubs.

    Famous for their passionate supporters and the legendary atmosphere at their home stadium, the Stade Velodrome.

    In total Marseille have won nine French league titles, and the Coupe de France a record 10 times. 

    The club's greatest moment arrived in 1993, when they became the first and still to this day the only French team to lift the UEFA Champions League.

    Their current team are lying in fifth place in Ligue 1 at the moment, however, they finished bottom of their group in the UEFA Champions League.

    Number of "Likes": 2.88 million

23. Internazionale

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    F.C. Internazionale Milano, founded in 1905, are one of Italy's great teams. They have won 18 Serie A titles, including five consecutively from 2006-2010.

    The Nerazzurri share their stadium, the San Siro, with fierce city rivals A.C. Milan. They also have an intense rivalry with Juventus, with whom they contest the Derby d'Italia.

    They have won two European Cups, the second of which, in 2010, sealed an unprecedented treble for an Italian club.

    Currently, Inter are in somewhat of a rebuilding phase, hoping to climb back to the summit of Italian football. A recent takeover from Indonesian business man Erick Thohir might be exactly what the club needs.

    Number of "Likes": 3.195 million

22. Sao Paulo

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    Sao Paulo FC were founded in 1935, relatively late in comparison to most others on this list, but have since become one the most important clubs in Brazil.

    Internationally speaking, Sao Paulo has won more titles than any other Brazilian club, including three Copa Libertadores, two Intercontinental Cups, and most recently the 2005 FIFA Club World Cup.

    That is not to say they haven't been successful domestically, as the "Tricolor" have won 21 Paulista and six Brasileiro titles.

    They contest heated rivalries with Palmeiras, Santos and Corinthians.

    Number of "Likes": 3.2 million

21. C.D. Guadalajara

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    Club Deportivo Guadalajara, more commonly known as Chivas, are often regarded as the team of the Mexican people. 

    Chivas, who were founded by a Belgian in 1906, exclusively field Mexican players and have contributed considerably to the Mexican national team over the years.

    They share the record of 11 Liga MX titles with arch-enemies Club America, with whom they compete in El Super Clasico.

    Despite struggling this year, Guadalajara have never been relegated below the top-tier of Mexican football.

    Number of "Likes": 3.305 million

20. Club America

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    Founded in Mexico City in 1916, Club America are the most successful club in Central and North America.

    They have an equal record in both national titles (11) and continental titles (5).

    Home games are played at the famous Estadio Azteca, one of football's greatest and largest stadiums.

    This year America won another league title, and have more recently formed the core of the Mexican national team.

    Their principal rivalry is with Guadalajara, the only other club in Mexico to have never been relegated from the top division.

    Number of "Likes": 3.38 million

19. Tottenham Hotspur

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    Tottenham Hotspur, commonly referred to as Spurs, were founded in 1882 in North London.

    They were the first club to win the League and FA Cup double in 1961 and became the first English club to win a UEFA club competition, the European Cup Winners' Cup, the following year.

    They contest the North London derby along with neighbours Arsenal, in one of England's fiercest and most anticipated fixtures.

    Tottenham are looking to seal UEFA Champions League qualification this year after missing out so narrowly for the past two seasons. 

    Number of "Likes": 3.875 million

18. Besiktas

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    Formed in 1903, Besiktas are one of Turkey's major clubs, having lifted the Turkish Super Lig on 13 occasions.

    Based in Istanbul, "The Black Eagles" are known to have the most passionate fans in the country.

    The club most recently won the Turkish Super Lig during the 2008–09 season, as they achieved the double after also winning the Turkish Cup.

    They are currently managed by former Croatia manger, Slaven Bilic.

    Number of "Likes": 4.38 million

17. Boca Juniors

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    Boca Juniors were founded in 1905 by five Italians in the La Boca neighbourhood of Buenos Aires.

    Boca is not only one of the most successful football teams in Argentina, but also one of the most successful in the world, having won more than 50 official titles to date.

    These titles include 30 Primera Division titles, six Copa Libertadores and three Intercontinental Cups.

    Boca Juniors is traditionally regarded as the club of Argentina's working class, in contrast with the more upper-class fanbase of neighbourhood rivals River Plate

    Number of "Likes": 4.41 million

16. Flamengo

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    Clube de Regatas do Flamengo are a Brazilian football club based in Rio de Janeiro. A majority of their home matches are played in the world-famous Maracana.

    Flamengo is one of the most successful clubs in Brazil, having won five Brasileiro and two Copa do Brasil titles.

    In 1981, the "Mengao" became the first Carioca team to win the Copa Libertadores and in the same year went on to win the Intercontinental Cup beating Liverpool in the final.

    The club is one of only five in Brazil to have never been relegated to the second division, and has long-standing rivalries with city neighbours Fluminense, Botafogo and Vasco da Gama.

    Number of "Likes": 5.29 million

15. Corinthians

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    Corinthians were the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup champions, and are one of Brazil's most loved football teams.

    They were founded in 1910, after a group of railway workers in Sao Paulo became impressed with the London-based amateur Corinthian football team.

    The Timao, as they are known, are one of Brazil's most successful teams with 27 Paulista titles and five Brasileiro titles.

    Corinthians are due to move into their new stadium, Arena Corinthians, which will have a capacity of 68,000, ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

    Number of "Likes": 5.475 million

14. Paris Saint-Germain

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    Paris Saint-Germain are the most modern of all the clubs in this list, having been formed as recently as 1970 due to a merger between Paris FC and Stade St-Germain.

    Despite that fact, PSG have picked up 20 titles, making them the fourth most successful club in France and one of only two French clubs to win a major European club competition.

    Their biggest rivals are Olympique Marseille, against whom they contest France's most notorious fixture, known as "Le Classique".

    After a recent investment from super-rich Qatari investors the future looks very bright for the French champions.

    Number of "Likes": 6.95 million

13. Borussia Dortmund

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    Borussia Dortmund are one of the most successful and supported clubs in the history of German football.

    Founded in 1909, Dortmund have gone on to win eight Bundesliga titles and one UEFA Champions League.

    The club plays their home matches in one of Europe's great stadiums, the Westfalenstadion, which has a capacity of over 80,000. Dortmund have the highest average attendance of any football club worldwide.

    They are currently having somewhat of a golden period, having won two of the past three Bundesliga titles and reaching the 2013 UEFA Champions League final, under the guidance of manager Jurgen Klopp.

    Number of "Likes": 7.015 million

12. Fenerbahce

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    Founded as a club in 1907 in the European/Asian city of Istanbul, Fenerbahce are one of Turkey's most successful clubs having won a total of 27 Turkish national championships.

    They contest fierce matches with cross-town rivals Besiktas, as well as Galatasaray in what is regarded as the biggest derby in the country.

    Matches with Galatasaray are known as the "Kitalar Arsasi Derbi" or the "Intercontinenal Derby", as Galatasaray are situated in the European side of Istanbul.

    Home matches are played at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium, in which fans create an intimidating atmosphere for opponents.

    "The Yellow Canaries" are the current Turkish Cup champions.

    Number of "Likes": 7.275 million

11. Manchester City

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    Manchester City were initially founded in 1880 under the name St. Marks and it wasn't until 14 years later that they adopted their current name.

    Despite spending much of their history under the shadow of city rivals Manchester United, City have won three English league titles and five FA Cups.

    The club's most successful spell was during the late 1960s and early 1970s when they won the League Championship, FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup.

    After a takeover in 2008 by the Abu Dhabi United Group, Manchester City have become one of the wealthiest clubs in the world, and can safely assume that their greatest era is yet to come.

    Number of "Likes": 8.95 million

10. Galatasaray

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    Galatasaray, based on the European side of Istanbul, are Turkey's most popular and successful club.

    They have won more Turkish League titles (19) and Turkish Cups (14) than any other team in the country. Internationally, Galatasaray won the 2000 UEFA Cup and went on to win the UEFA Super Cup in the same year.

    Their home stadium is the Turk Telekom Arena which along with the fans of the club has the world record for the loudest stadium roar.

    They contest the "Intercontinental Derby" with Fenerbahce, in a match considered to be one of the world's great derbies, as well as holding a fierce rivalry with Besiktas.

    They are the current champions of the Turkish Super Lig.

    Number of "Likes": 9.58 million

9. Juventus

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    Founded in 1897 as Sport Club Juventus by students from Turin, the club has become the most successful in Italy and one of the most famous clubs in the world.

    They have traditionally been viewed as a symbol of Italian culture and played an integral role in producing the players that helped Italy win the 1934, 1982 and 2006 FIFA World Cups.

    Juventus have won a record 29 Serie A titles and nine Coppa Italia triumphs. The Bianconeri lifted the European Cup in 1985 and 1996, and both times went on to win the Intercontinental Cup.

    The Turin based club have won the last two Serie A titles.

    Number of "Likes": 9.89 million

8. FC Bayern Munchen

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    Founded in 1900, FC Bayern is the most decorated club in German football history with a record 23 Bundesliga titles.

    The club had its greatest period of success in the the 1970s when, led by Franz Beckenbauer, they won the European Cup three times in a row (1974–76).

    Bayern consider themselves a national club, and thus have supporters all over the country.

    Bayern's greatest season ever came in the 2012-13 season, as they won the Bundesliga with a record points total, as well as winning the DFB Pokal and the UEFA Champions League.

    The Munich based club are currently recognized as Europe's most formidable team.

    Number of "Likes": 12.11 million

7. Liverpool

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    Liverpool F.C., founded in 1892, is one of the most successful clubs in England and has won more European trophies than any other British team, including five European Cups.

    Domestically, the club has won 18 league titles, seven FA Cups and a record eight League Cups.

    The most successful period in Liverpool's history was during the 1970s and 1980s when Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley led the club to 11 league titles and seven European trophies.

    Liverpool are looking to get back into the UEFA Champions League, and are currently on target, sitting in fourth place in the English Premier League.

    The club has played at the famous Anfield stadium since its formation.

    Number of "Likes": 15.18 million

6. A.C. Milan

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    A.C. Milan were founded in 1899 by two English expatriates, thus the club has retained the English spelling of the city's name.

    They are the most successful club in world football in terms of international trophies won (18), along with Boca Juniors.

    Milan have won the European Cup on seven occasions, second only to Real Madrid, in addition to a record three Intercontinental Cups and a FIFA Club World Cup.

    Domestically, Milan have been also very successful, lifting the Serie A title no fewer than 18 times.

    Their main rivals are Internazionale, matches between the two are called the "Derby della Madonnina" and are regarded as one of football's greatest rivalries.

    Number of "Likes": 19.675 million

5. Arsenal

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    Arsenal are a football club based in North London, and are historically one of England's most successful clubs, having won 13 English League titles and 10 FA Cups.

    The Gunners hold the record for the longest uninterrupted period in the English top flight and gathered more league points than any other English team throughout the 20th century.

    In 2003-04, Arsenal became the second English team to go the entire league season unbeaten.

    The club's major rivals are Tottenham Hotspur, their matches are known as the North London derby.

    They are currently leading the way in the English Premier League.

    Number of "Likes": 19.9 million

4. Chelsea

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    Chelsea FC, founded in 1905, are based in an affluent part of South-West London, and have spent a majority of their history in the top flight of English football.

    It wasn't until 1955 when Chelsea won their first league title.

    The club had sporadic success throughout the following decades, including winning the 1971 European Cup Winners' Cup.

    When Ruud Gullit arrived as player-manager in 1996, he brought several top international players to the club, which set the platform for various domestic and continental cup successes.

    In 2003, Roman Abramovich purchased Chelsea and they are now firmly established as one of Europe's elite clubs. In the past decade they have won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the UEFA Champions League.

    Number of "Likes": 22.605 million

3. Manchester United

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    Manchester United were formed in 1878, and have gone on to become England's most famous team.

    They have won a national record of 20 league titles and 11 FA Cups, as well as having also won three European cups, one European Cup Winners' Cup, an Intercontinental Cup, and a FIFA Club World Cup.

    In 1998-99, Manchester United became the first team to win "the treble" in England, and thus far no other team has matched that feat.

    Their main rivals have traditionally been Liverpool, but more recently matches with cross-town enemies Manchester City have become increasingly important due to their rise in stature.

    Manchester United's greatest manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, retired at the end of last season after bringing 28 major trophies to Old Trafford in a remarkable 26 year reign.

    Number of "Likes": 40.73 million

2. Real Madrid

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    Real Madrid were founded in 1902 and play their home matches in the Santiago Bernabeu.

    They are the most successful club in Europe in terms of European Cups, with a record nine triumphs, including winning the first five editions of the competition.

    Los Blancos have also won more La Liga titles than any other club with a remarkable total of 32, as well as winning 18 Copa del Rey.

    They have two principal rivalries, firstly the "Derby Madrileno" which they compete with city rivals Atletico Madrid, and secondly with FC Barcelona in a match known as "El Clasico" which is regarded as the most important rivalry in the world.

    Real Madrid currently have the two most expensive players in football history on their side, in Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, and will be hoping to lift their 10th European Cup in the coming seasons.

    Number of "Likes": 50.29 million

1. FC Barcelona

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    Founded in 1899 by a group of Swiss, English and Catalan footballers, the club has become a symbol of Catalan culture.

    They have won more trophies than any other Spanish club with a total of 83, including 22 La Liga titles, 26 Copa del Rey, four European Cups, four European Cup Winners' Cups and a record two FIFA Club World Cups. 

    In 2009, Barcelona became the first football club ever to win six out of six competitions in a single year, thus completing "the sextuple".

    Barcelona's academy, La Masia, produced a majority of the 2010 FIFA World Cup winning squad for Spain, as well as four-time reigning Ballon D'Or winner Lionel Messi.

    They contest the most anticipated annual derby in the world with Real Madrid, in "El Clasico".

    Number of "Likes": 53.8 million