It is common for eyes to roll when executives of football club mention the ‘brand value’ of players. The commodification of popularity and giving it more importance than the actual on-field impact of these talents is often a struggle that supporters must fight with.
On the top levels, at least, it is fair to say that the truly cult following is reserved for the ones who actually demonstrate exceptional feats on the field.
However, the contribution of these giants to their clubs goes much further than their mere presence in the roster and the roles they’ll fulfill in the campaigns.
This can perhaps be best illustrated by the rise in popularity of Juventus as a football club. While the Serie A giants have always enjoyed a high status in Italian football, their more recent transfer endeavors have ensured that their popularity is extended to a global audience as well.
The most obvious contributor to this has to be the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo last summer. The Portuguese superstar has added significantly to the Old Lady’s progress over the course of the past season.
Now, Juventus have crossed the 31 million mark on Instagram for followers and have become the third-most followed football club on the social network.
Only Barcelona and Real Madrid boast of a bigger fan following with their colossal counts well into 76 million.
Through this, the Serie A giants have taken over Manchester United who previously held that spot and are now on a downward spiral, sitting on the edge of the 31 million followers mark.
This is an apt indication of the footballers presently plying their trade for the Old Trafford giants, with Paul Pogba and David De Gea arguably the only players currently in their roster to possess a formidable social media following.
Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo’s stature as the most-followed athlete on Instagram has clearly had a trickle-down effect into Juventus, who until last year were just barely above the 10 million mark.