* Survey done by SeatPick that helps fans find the best ticket deals on the web
* By using algorithms to scan thousands of ticket listings and displaying the best deals on one interactive map
* Second in the African pick is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the former Gabon international
* Third place is Algerian winger, Riyad Mahrez with 9.3 million followers
By Duncan Mlanjira
A recent survey by SeatPick — the ticket search engine that aggregates ticket listings to sports, music and theatre from over 50 different ticket markets — reveals that Egyptian, Mohamed Salah is the most popular African player in the English Premier League (EPL), with over 53 million followers.
SeatPick helps fans find the best ticket deals on the web by using algorithms to scan thousands of ticket listings and displaying the best deals on one interactive map.
It describes the EPL as a platform where many African stars are born — from Didier Drogba to Michael Essien to Mohamed Salah and many more of the continent’s most beloved footballing icons that made their names in the English Premier League.
With this in mind, Seatpick scraped data from Instagram to establish who the most popular African players currently in the Premier League are, based on their number of followers.
With the new season about to take a break to pave way for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup and the return of European competitions, Seatpick says “there’s never been a better time to see our favourite footballing stars in competitive action”.
“These players often transcend the realm of sport and become world-renowned celebrities. Though far behind Ronaldo’s follower count, Sallah — the Egyptian King — still boasts an astounding 53 million followers.
“Salah has been an instrumental maestro for the Reds since his club-record signing in 2017, helping to lead them to Premier and Champions League glory with his efforts.
“Considered one of the greatest African players of all time, it is no surprise to see him as one of the Premier League’s most popular.”
Other key stats from the data are: five of the 10 most followed African players in the PL are from North Africa. As for the rest, four are from West Africa and one is from Central Africa.
Second in the African pick is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the former Gabon international who has been the centre of a couple headline transfers in recent times — first from Arsenal to Barcelona, and then back to the Premier League this year to play for Chelsea.
He finishes with 13.4 million followers while in third place is Riyad Mahrez, with 9.3 million followers. The Algerian winger ranks high as he helped Leicester City win the Premier League a few years ago, and is now an important part of Pep Guardiola’s star-studded Manchester City team.
Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech, who has recently returned to his international duties with Morocco, finishes in 4th with 6.4 million followers, and Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny, the second Egyptian on the list, finishes in 5th with 4.6 million.
The rest of the top 10 is dominated by Senegalese players — Chelsea’s Édouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly in 6th and 7th respectively, as well as Everton’s Idrissa Gueye (9th) while West Ham United’s Algerian star Saïd Benrahma is 8th and Liverpool’s Guinea international Naby Keïta shares 9th spot with Gueye.
As overall most popular player in the Premier League with around 489 million followers, Cristiano Ronaldo recently scored his 700th club goal, and is — along with Paris Saint-Germain’s Lionel Messi — among the most famous and decorated players of his era, if not of all time.
Another Liverpool legend of the modern era, Philippe Coutinho, follows in third, with close to 25 million followers. Though ‘The Little Magician’ has long left Anfield, he is still beloved by many Liverpool fans, with fond memories of his goals and abilities.
He now plays under former teammate Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa, and though some have called into question his current form, it is no doubt that the Brazilian is still one of the Premier League’s most popular stars.
Thiago Silva, another Brazilian icon, is ranked 4th, with around 20 million followers and Manchester City’s Erling Haaland comes in 5th, with almost 20 million followers.
Other notable findings:
* 6 out of the 20 most popular current PL players play for Brazil on an international level;
* Premier League players boast over 1.2 billion total followers when added together. This means that Cristiano Ronaldo’s following of 489 million makes up over 40% of the entire league’s;
* Manchester United is the EPL team that has the largest number of players in the top 20 for popularity, with five. Their Instagram page is also the most popular team page in the EPL, with 61.2 million followers.
* The most popular goalkeeper is Manchester United’s David De Gea, with close to 14 million followers;
* The most popular manager is Everton’s Frank Lampard, with 5.8 million followers.
1. To find out which Premier League player is the most popular, Seatpick first collected data on every player for each of the 20 teams currently in the Premier League, using the Premier League’s official website;
2. With this seed list, they searched for each player’s account on Instagram and made a note of their follower numbers as they appear on their page. Players who do not have an Instagram account or whose account could not be found were left as ‘0’ and ‘N/A’;
3. The same method was used to find follower numbers for all the Premier League managers and official club pages;
4. All follower numbers were added up, both divided by teams and for the league as a whole as well;
5. A final ranking was made of the 20 most popular players in the Premier League based on their current number of Instagram followers. Their club and international teams were also noted down;
6. Players who are on loan for the season were counted as part of their current team. e.g., Conor Coady is currently playing for Everton on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers, so he has been counted as an Everton player;
7. All data was collected in October 2022 and is accurate as of then.