Since its inception, La Liga has been dominated by two football clubs: Barcelona and Real Madrid. Lionel Messi’s brilliance has kept Barcelona relevant for years, but he doesn’t do it alone. Aside from a star-studded supporting cast, Barcelona boasts one of the largest fan bases in the world, across all sports. While FC Barcelona’s claim to have 1 billion fans might be inflated (generally attributed to double counting fans on social media, visits to their website, etc.), they are not far off. A history of elite talent has lead to perennial Spanish football dominance, but where do they stand on the global stage? FanWide has collected data that measures both popularity and on-field success. The result? Barcelona ranks #3 among European soccer teams.
The European soccer scene is unique in that it consists of 5 different comparable leagues. Unlike sports like football and basketball in the USA, which have teams that have competed against each other for years, some European soccer teams might face each other once every five to ten years. Naturally, ranking these teams is a challenge. FanWide’s goal in ranking the top ten European soccer teams was to use metrics that acknowledge the fact that not all teams get a chance to play each other. By using metrics like FanWide’s fan data, the focus in our rankings was split between on and off-field success. As a result, our top ten ranking consists of the most prominent, internationally significant European soccer clubs, accounting for but not solely relying on titles and wins. In the coming weeks, FanWide will be rolling out the top ten, building up to the reveal of the #1 soccer club in Europe. Check out this blog, for a breakdown of the metrics.
European Soccer Top 10:
8. Juventus FC
7. Chelsea FC
|Fan Clubs (FanWide)||15||8|
|Champions League Wins (all time)||5||3 (tie)|
|UEFA Player of the Year Top Ten Finalists (since 2014)||8||2|
|Attendance (Average 2018)||73,650||4|
|Forbes Value (in billions)||4.07||3|
|Total Social Media Followers (in millions)||195||2|
|Domestic League Titles (all time)||25||4|
|Domestic League Titles (since 2009)||7||1|
Fan Clubs (according to FanWide): 15 (8th)
Tied for their weakest ranking, Barcelona’s 15 FanWide registered fan clubs rank them 8th in European football. The number is still impressive, earning a top ten finish. Barcelona’s fans are global, and new fan clubs emerge all the time. If you are a Barcelona fan who wants to set up a local fan club in your city, let us know!
All-Time Champions League Wins: 5 (3rd-tie)
Barcelona’s impressive Champions League wins rank them third among European soccer teams. In one of the sport’s premier competitions, Barcelona has raised the trophy five times. Three of these 5 titles have been won in the past 10 years. The constant? Lionel Messi. Messi’s perennial Ballon d’Or considerations are a testament to his performance when it matters. In the past 10 years alone, Barcelona has proved to be a global power on the pitch.
UEFA Player of the Year Top Ten Finalists (since 2014): 8 (2nd)
Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar Jr. have combined for 8 appearances in UEFA’s Player of the Year top ten. While Neymar has now left for Paris St. Germain, this triumvirate created goals like no other. Neymar may be gone, but Messi and Suarez remain, two dominating forces that put the ball in the net more than any other duo in La Liga.
Attendance (Average 2018): 73,650 (4th)
In 2018, Barcelona saw an average of 73,650 attendees at each home match. Barcelona plays their home matches at Camp Nou (which translates to “New Field”) which they moved into in 1956. With a capacity of 99,000 Camp Nou is the largest stadium in Europe and the third largest soccer stadium in the world. The organization has plans to construct a new stadium: “New Camp Nou.” The new stadium will be completely modernized and equipped with top-end technology, all while expanding to a capacity of about 105,000. Currently, Barcelona is not filling their stadium (even though their attendance is still quite impressive relative to other football clubs.) They hope that the new stadium will create excitement that will allow them to reach record-breaking attendance (and reap the benefits that come with it).
Team Value: 4.06 B (3rd)
According to Forbes, F.C Barcelona is worth 4.06 billion USD. Over time, Barcelona’s tradition of success has paid off, as they are one of three football clubs in the world to be worth more than 4 billion dollars (along with Real Madrid and Manchester United). The valuation considers match day revenue, broadcasting deals, merchandise sales and outstanding debts.
Aggregate Social Media Followers: 195 million (2nd)
FanWide accounted for Barcelona’s 64 million Instagram followers, 29 million Twitter followers, and 102 million Facebook likes in this ranking. Barcelona’s 195 million total social media followers provide evidence of their social prominence and presence. They have gained a reputation as one of the most known sports franchises in the world- their aggregate social media following backs up this claim.
Domestic League Titles: 2nd
Barcelona’s 25 Spanish league titles rank them fifth in FanWide’s ranking. In one of the premier leagues in the world, Barcelona has done more than hold their own. Their 25 titles ranks them second behind Real Madrid in Spanish football. They have been extremely successful recently. Barcelona has won 7 of the last ten La Liga titles. While Real Madrid may have them beat in the Champions League over that span (4 compared to Barca’s 3), Barcelona has proven that they know how to play Spanish football. Barcelona has undisputedly dominated La Liga in the past 10 years.
Barcelona currently sits at #3 in FanWide’s European soccer club rankings. No matter where you live or travel, you can find Barcelona fan clubs and watch parties near you through FanWide, the world’s largest fan club network.
Follow the rankings on social media: @FanWide and #Top10Team
Click here to read about our #2 team!