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The World’s Most Popular Footballers in 2023

26 Sep | news | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
The World’s Most Popular Footballers in 2023

With the Premier League in full swing for another action-packed season, fascination with football has spiked once again around the world. Betway has investigated monthly search volumes for the top 30 most famous footballers

It’s an exciting time for football fans around the world as the Premier League returns for another action-packed season, with many also still riding the high from 2022’s Qatar World Cup. Fascination with the sport has spiked once again, captivating fans from all corners of the globe. 

So, we’re celebrating the season by revealing the most popular footballers who have taken the world by storm. Using a seed list of the top 30 most famous footballers, football betting site Betway investigated monthly search volumes for each player to find out who’s making waves both on and off the pitch.

Top 10 Most Popular Footballers Worldwide

Currently captain of the Saudi Pro League club Al Nassr, as well as the Portugal national team, the legendary Cristiano Ronaldo ranks as the world’s most popular footballer with an astonishing average of 16.6 million searches per month worldwide. 

Since his professional debut in 2002 at the tender age of 17, he has become known as one of the greatest players to have ever graced the beautiful game. With over 800 official senior career goals for club and country, he proudly holds the title of the highest goalscorer of all time – as well as having multiple league titles, domestic cups, and UEFA Champions League triumphs to his name. 

Following closely behind Cristiano Ronaldo is Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, most commonly known simply as Neymar. Currently playing as a forward for Saudi Pro League club Al Hilal and donning the iconic yellow jersey for the Brazil national team, Neymar attracts an impressive average of 11.1 million searches per month worldwide – as well as 2.7 million in his home country of Brazil alone. 

Neymar currently shares the coveted title of joint-top goalscorer for his national team, alongside the legendary Pelé, having notched an impressive 77 goals in 124 matches. 

Lionel Messi secures the third spot with an impressive 7.5 million average monthly searches around the world. Currently, Messi graces the Major League Soccer stage as a forward and captain of Inter Miami, while simultaneously leading the Argentina national team to glory. He boasts a record seven Ballon d’Or awards, but what truly cements his status in football hall of fame is his remarkable feat of scoring the most goals by a player for a single club at 672. 

English star Harry Kane (2.2 million) and Uruguayan pro Luis Suarez (1.5 million) also finish in the top five.

Top 10 Most Popular Footballers in the UK

As well as revealing the most popular players around the world, we also analysed search volumes within the UK to reveal the country’s favourite football stars. 

Cristiano Ronaldo once again comes out on top, with an average of 550,000 monthly searches in the UK. He’s followed by England’s very own Harry Kane in second place, with an impressive 450,000 average monthly searches. Currently donning the colours of Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, Kane not only shows off his striking prowess but also does a fantastic job as captain of the England national team. 

Kane is Tottenham Hotspur’s all-time highest goalscorer and also holds that prestigious title for the England national team, as well as ranking as the second-highest all-time goalscorer in the Premier League. With that in mind, it’s no wonder he’s known as one of the best strikers in the world. 

Neymar (368,000) and Messi (301,000) come in third and fourth, followed by Lioness legend Jill Scott in fifth with an average monthly search volume of 201,000. Scott retired from professional football in 2022, but prior to that she won over fans around the country as a midfielder for Everton and Manchester City. 

UK-born players Gareth Bale, Alex Scott, Raheem Sterling and Wayne Rooney also appear among the top 10 most popular footballers in the country.

Our research also revealed that Ronaldo, Messi, and Neymar consistently rank as the top three most popular players in every G20 country other than the UK, confirming their status as true football legends both on and off the field.

Methodology and Sources

We used a seed list of the top 30 most famous footballers. The search volumes of these footballers’ names were then recorded in each of the G20 countries using Google Keyword Planner, revealing the most popular footballers in each country as well as worldwide. 

The Republic of Korea and Russia were removed due to a lack of data.