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Which football team has the most fans? A guide to the best supported clubs worldwide

Which football team has the most fans in the world? It's a debate that has raged on for decades now as attendances and global support have become both a stick to beat other clubs with and one used for point scoring.

For some people, clubs that have a worldwide fanbase are ‘plastic' and full of ‘glory hunters' while for others, a global fanbase is simply a sign that you are an ‘elite club'. The fickle nature of football supporters has no boundaries and the debate around fan numbers is a prime example of that.

The guide below will provide you with all the information you need to know on which football team has the most fans and end the debate once and for all.

Which football team has the most fans
Real Madrid have the most fans in the world – Photo by Icon Sport

Which football team has the most fans? The top five

1) Real Madrid

Unsurprisingly, Real Madrid are considered to have the most fans in world football. The Spanish giants are the most successful club in European football with 35 league titles and 14 Champions League titles to their name. Their success in the Champions League, a competition that is watched all over the world, has contributed massively to their support.

Additionally, some of the best and most popular footballers of all time have donned the famous white shirt over the course of history including Ronaldo, Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. All of these players and more have helped too boost the popularity of Real Madrid across the planet.

2) Barcelona

Barcelona are next on the list with their success in the 2010s contributing massively to their following. Across all social media platforms, Barcelona have 330 million followers which is around 35m short of their great rivals, Real Madrid.

The Catalan giants have also possessed some of the biggest names in world football at different times including Ronald Koeman, Johan Cruyff, Diego Maradona, Ronaldinho, Lionel Messi and Neymar. The impact Messi has had on their support over the past 20 years can't be understated and their global support is now there for all to see.

3) Manchester United

Around ten years ago, Manchester United were considered the biggest club on the planet with the most fans across the globe. While they once claimed to have 600 million fans worldwide, these numbers have dipped in recent times as the club's success on the pitch has dwindled.

The romance around Manchester United is obvious and at their peak, they were a winning machine that would frequently tour Asia and America, picking up more supporters along the way. Sir Alex Ferguson's legacy at the club still lives on and Old Trafford still boasts the highest average attendance in the Premier League by some distance but they will need to start winning major titles again soon if they are to continue to be an international powerhouse.

manchester united fans
Manchester United have the most fans in the Premier League – Photo by Icon Sport

4) PSG

Unlike other clubs on this list, PSG are not steeped in history. They were only founded in 1970, at which point Real Madrid and Manchester had already won European Cups but they have risen to international prominence since they were purchased by Qatar Sports Investments in 2011.

The club have always had a passionate local following but over the past 13 years, they have expanded and created a huge global fanbase. Players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi have all played in Paris in recent times which has catapulted their social media following to 183.5m across all platforms.

5) Juventus

Juventus round off the top five which means the five clubs with the most fans in the world have all had either Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi play for them at some point which is most definitely not a coincidence. Beyond the Ronaldo factor, Juventus have always been a club synonymous with the Champions League – they have finished runners-up more times than any other club

Andy Delaney

Andy is a freelance sports writer with ten years of experience covering major sporting events across Europe. He has also been a season ticket holder at Old Trafford since 2008 and has visited over 40 football stadiums in the United Kingdom and abroad following the Reds.

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