Who sold the most shirts?
Half-and-half scarves are perhaps the least popular piece of merchandise available to buy at football stadiums across Europe, but replica shirts remain as in-demand as ever. Some of the continent’s biggest clubs make huge sums from kit sales, even if the proceeds are rarely enough to cover the cost of the team’s transfer activity as is often reported.
In this slideshow, we use data from Ticketgum to reveal the 10 European clubs who sell the most replica shirts. The most recent data available covers sales throughout 2016.
10. Milan, 0.65m
Milan haven’t won a league title since 2011 or competed in the last four editions of the Champions League, but their brand remains strong. The Rossoneri sold 650,000 tops in the period covered, which is impressive when you consider they finished seventh in Serie A in 2015/16.
Milan spent huge sums on their squad in summer 2017 in a bid to return to the summit of the Italian game. Things haven’t quite gone to plan so far, but the 18-time champions can at least take solace in the fact they retain a high level of support in Italy and beyond.
9. PSG, 0.69m
It’s likely that PSG will rank higher in future editions of this list, with the acquisition of Neymar for a world-record fee in August 2017 doing a great deal to boost their marketability and profile. They managed to shift 690,000 shirts in the year before the Brazilian’s arrival, back when Zlatan Ibrahimovic was still strutting his stuff at the Parc des Princes.
PSG continue to dwarf their domestic rivals both on and off the pitch, Monaco’s shock title triumph in 2016/17 notwithstanding. They are certainly not reliant on funds generated from replica shirts, but their sales figures provide further evidence of the club’s growing stature.
8. Liverpool, 0.7m
With 700,000 replica shirts sold in the year 2016, Liverpool take eighth spot in our ranking. The Reds’ heyday came in the 1970s and ’80s, when the club won 10 league championships and four European Cups; they’ve not been quite as prolific when it comes to procuring silverware since then, but the Merseysiders still have little trouble shifting shirts.
Philippe Coutinho was a popular name for supporters to have printed on the back of their kits, but Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are fine alternatives now that the Brazilian is on Barcelona’s books.
7. Juventus, 0.85m
The most successful club in Italian football are also the biggest off the pitch, as the sale of a country-high 850,000 replica shirts demonstrates. Juventus have monopolised the Serie A title in the last few seasons, winning six Scudetti in a row between 2012 and 2017, as well as reaching two Champions League finals in three years.
With players such as Paul Pogba, Paulo Dybala and Gianluigi Buffon among their number in 2016, it's no surprise that the Bianconeri - by far the best supported team in Italy - managed to sell 850,000 replica shirts.
6. Arsenal, 1.23m
For a club who haven’t won the Premier League title or troubled the latter stages of the Champions League in several seasons, Arsenal’s shirt sales have held up reasonably well. The north Londoners remain one of the most popular outfits in Europe, trading 1.23 million replica tops to comfortably seal a place in the top six.
Gunners fans have understandably expressed dissatisfaction with the way their club is run in recent years, but they remain a huge name throughout the continent and beyond.
5. Bayern Munich, 1.5m
Bayern being the preeminent team in the Bundesliga is nothing new, but it seems harder than ever for the chasing pack to overhaul the Bavarian giants at the top of the table.
The 27-time German champions – Nurnberg are second in the all-time standings with nine titles – make significantly more money than their domestic rivals, which means it's increasingly difficult for any other side to compete. The amount of shirts Bayern sell – one-and-a-half million in 2016 – is another example of their dominance.
4. Chelsea, 1.65m
The reigning Premier League champions only finished in 10th place in 2015/16, their lowest finish since the mid-1990s. That didn’t deter supporters snapping up Chelsea tops, though, with the Blues still managing to shift 1.65 million units – some of which, admittedly, would have come in the first half of their subsequent title-winning campaign.
Chelsea have become one of European football’s leading names since Roman Abramovich’s takeover in 2003, with the west Londoners having acquired five league titles, one Champions League, one Europa League, four FA Cups and three League Cups in the 15 years since, not to mention countless supporters from across the globe.
3. Barcelona, 1.98m
Barcelona may have won La Liga in 2015/16, but the season was tinged with disappointing following their exit from the Champions League at the quarter-final stage.
The presence in the squad of Lionel Messi makes it easy for Barcelona to sell shirts, though, while Neymar – another hugely popular figure in the world game – was still at the club when these figures were calculated. Having just fallen short of two million sales in 2016, the Blaugrana will hope to have broken through that barrier in the next edition of this list.
2. Real Madrid, 2.29m
The 12-time European champions are widely considered the biggest club in world football, but they don’t come out on top in terms of shirt sales. Still, Real Madrid were one of only two teams to break the two-million mark in 2016.
It will be interesting to see whether los Blancos resume their galactico recruitment policy by snapping up established superstars in upcoming transfer windows. The shift away from such an approach has helped bring success on the field, but Madrid’s marketability would be boosted by a statement signing or two in the summer.
1. Manchester United, 2.85m
United may have failed to challenge for the Premier League title since Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, but they remain a global behemoth off the field. The Red Devils sold almost three million replica kits in the 12 months covered, which places them above every other European club in the rankings.
The purchase of Paul Pogba, one of the most marketable footballers on the planet, presumably boosted shirt sales in mid-2016, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s arrival at Old Trafford must have helped in that regard too.
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